formats

To balance life and caregiving, lean on those around you

Q: Growing up the holidays were always very special with my family. After I married I asked my mother if I could start hosting Thanksgiving at my house.

I would spend days working on the menu and getting ready for our extended family to arrive. I am anxious and depressed because I don’t think I can manage all the tasks this year. My husband has dementia, over the past few months his care has become more demanding. I find it hard to admit but I am exhausted from all my caregiving responsibilities. I am trying to figure out how I can still host dinner and not let everyone down. Do you have any ideas?

A: Caregivers find out rather quickly it is often a challenge to balance caring for a love one, keeping up with all household tasks and trying to focus on their own personal needs. Recognizing they can’t do it all and admitting this is a step in the right direction.

If you still want to host the dinner there are ways to do this and not have it all the tasks fall on your shoulders.

The first option is to contact family members and explain what you are going through. Ask if each would be willing to bring a dish. One idea would be to plan the menu and give people the option of which item they would like to take care of. If there is someone who really doesn’t like to cook they could volunteer to come over and set the table and help with clean up duties. Another option would be to ask the family if they would be interested in having the dinner catered and splitting the costs equally.

I would encourage you to accept for both your sake and your husband’s it is time to reach out for help. You are to be commended for the care you have been providing so far. Please give the Family Caregiver Program at Elder Services (1-800-892-0890) a call and ask to meet with one of the staff. They can assist you in considering options which may be available to you to lessen the load you have been caring.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.