Unexpectedly Becoming a Caregiver

Unexpectedly becoming a caregiver can lead to personal stress.

When there is a sudden accident or illness, it is possible to find yourself unexpectedly becoming a caregiver. It is a role many feel unprepared for, and if you are a caregiver to your spouse, you may find yourself now making all of the financial and medical decisions, ones you used to make with the help of your husband or wife.

With many decisions to make, unexpectedly becoming a caregiver can lead to emotional strain and stress. If you need support, connect with a personal counselor. A counselor can help you work through your feelings. They can also help you identify ways to build your network and build your confidence as a caregiver. 

Evaluate Your Situation and Gather Information

Taking steps to empower yourself could help you regain a sense of control should you unexpectedly become a caregiver. This could include making a list of the people in your life who could provide you with support, keeping in mind you will need support in different areas at different times. 

For example, there may be a family member who is good at budgeting. An individual who can help you reorganize your finances and shift from two incomes to one. And you may have an old friend who can always make you laugh, someone you can connect with for emotional relief. It is common for people to isolate themselves when they are overwhelmed, but if you ask for help, you may be surprised by how willing others are to share their time and talents. 

Next, consider starting a binder with all of the information you need. Digital records are convenient, but there is no replacement for having all of the essentials on paper. Then, details and notes can be easily accessed when you are at a doctor’s appointment, for instance.

Take Care of Yourself If You Unexpectedly Become a Caregiver

Remember that you are unable to take care of another person if you do not take care of yourself. Build and maintain healthy lifestyle habits, including a well-rounded diet, regular exercise, and a consistent sleep schedule. 

And when you are scheduling your days as a caregiver, be sure to schedule breaks for yourself. Some find short breaks are ideal for a quick walk, others are fortified through reading inspirational writing.

Unexpectedly becoming a caregiver can lead to a slew of new responsibilities, but each situation is unique. It is possible you will be caregiving for a period of time, months or years, and the period will be a cycle of daily life and crises. Taking care of yourself will allow you to weather the storms successfully, and bond with your loved one during a challenging time. 

Connect with a caring professional if you need to learn ways to balance your caregiving with healthy habits. There are stress techniques that can help, along with tools to connect with others who are having a similar experience. Sharing stories can result in healing. 

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M.,