Realizing the added pressure of being a full-time
caregiver is not the only challenged faced by many. In many cases, it is
the stress of caring for a loved one, all while maintaining a job and
supporting a family. It is at this moment where setting limits and making
choices becomes most important. The key step is learning how to say
“no,” yet maintaining a strong bond with your care recipient. Taking a step
back and seeing life as an equal distribution of give-and-take between
family and caregiving, often yields a myriad of benefits and positive
change. These benefits include:
Setting limits can reward the caregiver and the
care recipient. The loved one learns some independence, while the
caregiver gets a break and stays away from “burnout.”
Taking a step back and saying “no” at times
can be beneficial to your health. Caregivers tend to be at high risk
for illness and realizing that you cannot do everything allows you the
opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
By allowing other family members to step in at
times to assist you, you gain the freedom and momentary break that can
help in refocusing your attention to the care recipient.
Juggling a family, a job, and being a caregiver is
difficulty, and that is why it is vital for your health, well-being, and
familial bonds that you set a standard to follow early. Setting limits
does not mean you are being selfish or avoiding responsibility, rather it
allows you the opportunity to continue to provide the quality care you
would hope to give. Here are some other helpful hints as you go about
setting limits in your daily life:
Decide early on what you can and cannot do, take
into account your workload, family needs, and personal life and remain
steadfast when your plan is challenged or questioned.
Set limits from the start of your caregiving role
so you do not surprise your loved one when you suddenly decide to
change something or say “no.”
Maintain a quality relationship with your loved
one and explain to them your feelings on a given situation and why
setting limits can work for the both of you.
Do not let emotions like anger, guilt or anxiety
take you away from affect how you feel about setting limits. Emotions
such as these have no place in doing what needs to be done to survive
and feel good.
Do not feel as though you are anything less than
a courageous person if you say “no” and appear tough at times.
Your loved one must realize that you have your life to think about
Talk with other family members and friends and
have them involved in caregiving. This does not mean you are avoiding
your responsibility, rather you are allowing yourself some flexibility
and giving yourself a welcomed break occasionally.
If you struggle in setting limits and saying
“no,” you may need to talk with a therapist who can relieve your
fragile emotions and refocus your intent.
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