Quitting caregiving is something you may wish to do throughout your experience. It is no question that caregiving is taxing both physically and mentally. Especially when caring for a loved one, you may feel trapped in the caregiver role. The very nature of caregiving is that is it often not a choice but an obligation. Therefore, the decision to quit is not easy. It is important to ask these questions and try these solutions before throwing in the towel.
What is the main issue?
There are many struggles when it comes to caregiving. It’s not uncommon that they are all intertwined. However, using self reflection to find the root of the problem or at least organize the clutter in your mind can help you begin to solve them.
Ask yourself where the biggest struggle comes from. Is it time management? Stress and Anxiety? Physical exhaustion? From there, tackle the issue(s) with the help of friends, family, and tools designed to make your life easier. For example, a day planner or the extra hand of another family member helps with time. Seeing a therapist and managing your own mental health is beneficial for everyone. Adaptive clothing eases the difficulties of physically lifting a patient many times a day.
How can I prioritize my health?
There are many ways to increase your mental and physical health, including healthy diet and exercise. Unfortunately, these simple life changes are very often ignored in favour of the mental and physical health of your loved one. The key to prioritizing one’s health is to first recognize that your wellness as the caregiver is essential to the wellness of the care recipient.
Get out of the mindset that it is more important to care for somebody else than yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup the same way you cannot give care if you are tired, unhappy, or stressed. Once you realize the importance of maintaining your personal health in order to manage somebody else’s, you will make the changes necessary to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your doctor, a therapist, friends, and/or family to get your health in order.
Do I just need a break?
Consider taking a break before quitting entirely. It may be difficult to organize and even more difficult to manage the anxiety that comes with putting a pause on your caregiving, but a break is better than a break down. Look into other family members’ availability, a temporary hire, or short term care programs at local agencies. Remember: almost everything works when you turn it off and on again.
What are my other options?
Seriously look into other potential options to take place of your caregiver role. Other family members are typically the first go-to, but there are a slew of options like paid home care, assisted living, or long term care facilities. Do your research to find out what is right for you, ask your loved one what they think, and consult your other family members for their opinions. Really take all of it into account — It is not an easy decision but it could be a crucial one in order to get your life back on track.
Do not feel guilty for aborting the mission. Your responsibility to your parents, in-laws, spouse, or other care recipient is not to sacrifice your mental and physical wellbeing for them. It is to ensure they are safe and receiving the proper care and nutrition available to them. If this becomes somebody or some place that is no longer you, it is a very responsible act to recognize you must pass the role on.
Do you have experience with the highs and lows of caregiving? Have you felt like quitting? We’d love to hear your story in the comments section below.