Too Tired for the Holidays
How do I find joy in the holidays when my life revolves around caregiving and working?
Every day I drive over to my father’s house in the morning to get him out of bed and going for the day. I make breakfast and prepare his lunch ahead of time. I also visit in the evening with dinner for him. I do his laundry and clean his home. I do all of this while maintaining a third shift job. I am tired and I hate my life. Right now I see no end in sight. How does a person enjoy the holidays when there is no break or time to enjoy? Do not tell me to tap my siblings, as there are none.
You clearly have become a full-time caregiver with two full-time jobs. It is no wonder that you are tired and struggling to see the joy in the holidays! What is a person with a full load and no respite to do?
The situation you described is one that you can manage for a while, but it is likely you will also grow tired and resentful of the workload. The reason you are feeling this way is because you are not getting enough downtime on a regular basis.
You need a break.
There is no simple answer, but there are ways to manage if you are open to trying something new.
Explore a Simpler Meal Situation
Meals-on-Wheels, meals bought online and shipped to your door or any other way to bring in meals that you are not preparing. You may get some complaints about unfamiliar cooking, and you may not. Either way there is no need for you to prepare all the food yourself in this day and age. Save cooking for occasional meals when you have the desire or time.
Hire Someone to Clean
Explore this option with your father. Expect some pushback from your father. He may tell you that the cleaning is unnecessary. For some reason, it is more common for elderly let cleaning go. Cleaning should not be negotiable, but that does not mean you have to do it all yourself.
Take a Vacation and Find a Substitute Caregiver
When you return, leave some of the substitute support in place. In other words, do not let the situation return to the level of support you were providing yourself. Also, be honest with your father as to the reason why. Do not allow misplaced guilt to force you into a situation that is unsustainable and unhealthy.
Decrease Your Stops to Once per Day
Twice per day is quite a bit. Look for ways to eliminate one of the visits. Consider a phone call or video chat for the evening visit instead of an actual stop. Bring a therapist in to look for adaptations that may make your father less dependent.
Assisted Living Facility or Home Care Services
If All Else Fails, an Assisted Living Facility or Home Care Are Both Viable Options. These options cost money, which many are reluctant to part with for care. It does become necessary for many of our elderly, however. Try the other ideas first, and see how they go.
I hope that you assertively set some boundaries and seek reasonable solutions in order to assist your father and preserve your sanity and health. It can be done. Most people face this situation as their parents age. Do not be afraid to make decisions that make sense for the two of you.
I wish you the best.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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