How to Balance Caregiving with Your Own Life When You're an Only Child
If you’re an only child, the thought of your parents aging and all that comes with that next phase of their lives may be stressful and overwhelming for you, the inevitable caregiver. The important factor to note is that there are a variety of ways that you can prepare for your caregiving journey and still find balance between your newfound responsibility and your own life. In fact, try to look at the positives before you allow yourself to swing the other way. Elements like decision-making & time management may actually become easier when there aren’t multiple parties involved in establishing an initial process.
So what are some steps that you can take to make the transition into this phase of YOUR life as seamless as possible? Here are some helpful tips:
Create a support system: Age is something that you can prepare for and, fortunately, siblings aren’t the only people involved in a defined familial network. Start having conversations with other family members, friends, your parent’s (parents’) friends, your religious community, and other local resources about what you’re anticipating and where they may be able to support you.
Ask for advice & assistance: Sometimes knowing where to begin is half the battle. Engaging in regular conversations with any medical professionals involved in the care of your loved one and leveraging online resources are two places that can provide a logical starting point. We aim to feature helpful articles that can answer many pressing caregiver questions right here on our site as well, including understanding the types of in-home care assistance that are available and how to talk to your employer about your family caregiving duties.
Hire a care manager: When you don’t have siblings, there are plenty of outlets that you can use to find surrogate caregivers so that you can still make time for yourself and your own life. You can find in-home caregiving options through local resources, a basic online search or in our hiring journey post.
Use your resources: From what you may be able to acquire through your employer to insurance to volunteer resources, there are a variety of options to explore when you try to plan your life as a primary caregiver. Do you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? If you do, you may be able to hire a therapist or a counselor for yourself, or a care manager for your loved one. Do you qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Have you sought out volunteer or community programs that may be able to provide you with some respite?
Make time for yourself: It’s even more important now than ever that you remember to schedule time for you. Whether it’s fun and leisurely activities that you enjoy, writing, reading, exercising, heading to the spa or taking a nap, self care is one of the keys to ensuring balance in your life.
Are you an only child caregiver? If so, as always, we’d love to learn about any tips that have helped you to experience a more stress-free caregiving lifestyle.
CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.