I heard three words I have wanted to hear for a long time today. No, it isn’t “I love you.” It’s “she showered yesterday.” Our elder doesn’t like to take a shower, and that’s understandable. She certainly doesn’t like to take a shower in front of strangers. That’s also understandable. That means that at least once a week I’ve had to go to her facility and help her take one.
That’s a problem. It isn’t because I don’t want to help our elder. I’ve been helping her for a few years now. It’s just that now I’m working as well as helping her. This means that I have to take time off work in order to do so, and that’s not good for the pocketbook.
Statistics: 61% of all caregivers are women. Most are middle aged. 59% are like me; they have jobs. Most of us have to accommodate work around the caregiving, which means loss of income. In some cases, it could mean the loss of a job.
Budgeting Time: I am fortunate in that my job is working from home on my own schedule. That doesn’t mean I’m not juggling. We’re still trying to work out a schedule that will meet all of our needs. We’ve had to work on a budget. It’s not a financial budget, it’s a time budget. How many hours can I devote to our elder? How many should I devote for my job? What about the house and the rest of the family?
Asking for Help: This is very important. I can’t do it all by myself. Even though our elder is in a facility where most of her needs are met, I still have to shop for her, visit with her and up until today, shower her. I am getting a lot of help, and that is making a big difference in keeping up with the overall picture.
Remember Self-care: Even though our schedules are packed, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves. It isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. If we get sick, we can’t help. Make sure you see the dentist regularly, see the doctor and take some time for yourself.
The juggling act we’re doing isn’t easy. Developing a working schedule requires flexibility on our parts and in the other aspects of care. It’s a lot easier if there are many to help. If there are other relatives or friends nearby that can step in, by all means ask. It will benefit more than you…it will benefit the elder.