I didn’t write for six years. My parents and my husband’s parents would be shocked and then heartbroken to think they had caused my caregiver burnout.
I don’t blame them. I was responsible. I wanted to support them. They had been great parents for us.
For 37 years I was the front-line family caregiver. Bob’s parents left this world in 2009 and 2011; my dad passed away in 2015; and when my mom passed away in 2017 I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.
My supportive husband and brother lightened th load. We were not financially burdened, as is the case with many family caregivers. As the writer and editor of a provincial family caregiver newsletter I was aware of resources, programs and assistance.
What I discovered though, despite community supports, my responsibilities became that of a full-time patient coordinator. Our medical system was complicated and there was no such thing as one-stop shopping.
Friends started to ask for advice when they began their caregiving experience. I directed them to the proper resources, pointed out programs they might not be aware of and provided much needed empathy for their journey.
Consciously I added “Let this experience make you think about how you age. What can you do to make the caregiving journey easier for your children or designated caregivers?”
I’d also caution caregivers to not just step in and help. Was there better ways to support, without taking away control?
Governments are spending huge dollars for care of seniors. Do we need to think differently about what aging baby boomers need?
It is my hope that this blog causes you to think about the way you age and to consider some tough questions and then take plans.