The statistics1 are staggering when it comes to unpaid, family caregivers. Whether it’s providing care to your child with a disability, your aging parent, or some other loved one, the numbers are mind-numbing.
Here’s the deal:
On top of that, unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. give up $3 trillion (that’s 12 zeroes) per year in wages, pensions and other benefits.2
The scary thing about this is we fell into most of these categories when Ben was young.
We did everything ourselves. 24/7. 365 days/yr.
We didn’t ask for help. We were his parents. His care was our responsibility.
Whenever it was suggested that we should bring in a caregiver to help, we had a million reasons why that wouldn’t work.
Looking back, it’s clear now that the "money" reason was the only one that was real. The others were excuses, plain and simple - mental barriers that we had erected.
Nevertheless, Jan and I purposely found ways to avoid going down the caregiver path, including working opposite shifts in our jobs. I was 9-5, she was 5-1am.
That strategy worked for a while but we never saw each other. And, after a few years of this insane routine, we had turned into a couple of zombies.
It wasn’t good for our health.
It wasn’t good for our relationship.
And our kids were certainly not getting the best of their Mom and Dad.
One day we were backed in a corner and had to do something.
With no lead time. No preparation.
It was like we had a gun to our head. It was a terrible feeling. And it caused even more grief in an already stressful life.
If some of these "reasons/excuses" are resonating with you, that's good, because you are where we used to be. But you can take a different path.
You don't have to wait until it's too late. Until you're forced to act and your options are few.
You don’t need that. Plus, you have way too much going on to add depression and chronic health issues to your list.
So take a breath and think about how you change direction to bring a great caregiver into your world.
Once you start thinking about it, you will start to generate some new ideas and possibilities. Some will sound realistic and practical and some will not. That doesn't matter.
What does matter is that you would have taken the first step to creating something that can make a difference, and not feel as stuck or trapped.
If this sounds outrageous or is too much to wrap your head around right now, that’s OK. I get it. I certainly don’t want to add more pressure to your life.
But find 15 minutes later today and have a look at these 19 tips that can help you bring a great caregiver into your life.
We’re here to help you down this path.
Deciding to bring in a caregiver is not an admission of failure.
It's actually the right response to ensuring both you and your family have the best possible support.
Today can be different!
1 As reported in “Embracer Carers Survey”, 2017, www.embracingcarers.com
2 As reported in a 2017 MetLife study, www.metlife.com.