Love is a powerful force, especially when it motivates you to provide loving care for a senior loved one. Love can motivate you to keep going when you’re exhausted, be patient when you’re overwhelmed, and give up once-beloved hobbies to care for a loved one. More than 30 million Americans are driven by love and concern to provide unpaid care to an ailing loved one. And while their sacrifice is laudable, love isn’t always enough. Love can’t build more hours into the day, or eliminate the need to sleep. It can’t free you of your own need for downtime and loving human connection. Assisted living and memory care, however, can help bridge the gap between what you want to do for your loved one and what you’re able to offer.
Caregiver Burnout: When Love Isn’t Enough
When a loved one is sick or overwhelmed, it’s easy to rush in and help—at least, at first. After all, they would do the same thing for you, and watching a loved one suffer is not an option. At first, caregivers may feel proud of the care they offer, or enjoy spending additional time with a loved one. Caregivers average 24 hours per week assisting a loved one—over half the amount of time they spend at work.
As a loved one declines, the caregiving burden can become unbearable. You may spend every waking second caring for your loved one, undermining your ability to spend time with children or a spouse, or perhaps thwarting your career ambitions.
- The rush of caregiving can make it difficult to prepare healthy meals. Caregivers may also turn to stress-eating. Because of these factors, caregivers tend to eat more calories and less balanced meals, and are more likely to become obese.
- Caregivers are more likely to experience difficulty sleeping.
- Caregiving increases the risk of anxiety.
- Caregivers are more likely to get sick, thanks to the stress of caregiving coupled with the fact that caregivers often neglect themselves.
No One Can Do it All
When the demands of caregiving become overwhelming, or when they interfere with a caregiver’s ability to live a meaningful life outside of their caregiving duties, burnout may develop. Some caregivers develop caregiver stress syndrome.
This stress and burnout can make your life feel overwhelming. And when you can’t take care of yourself, you may be unable to provide quality care to your loved one. Moreover, your relationship with your loved one can suffer. You may feel resentful and frustrated. You may forget what it was like to have a meaningful conversation between equals.
Assisted living and memory care may be able to help. Senior living communities relieve the burdens of daily caregiving. This allows you to refocus your attention on what matters most: nurturing a loving and mutually gratifying relationship with your loved one. Your loved one will receive expert care from committed and compassionate people, freeing you of the worry that is so often a part of caregiving.
These communities offer real hope to families. In fact, most seniors are happier in senior living communities because they can spend time with a community of others and have easy access to a wide range of activities, without having to worry about burdening their loved ones. Life can be better for both you and your loved one. You can spend time together in a low-stress environment, without the specter of caregiving compromising your relationship.
How Assisted Living Can Improve Everyone’s Quality of Life
If you find yourself alternating between feelings of exhaustion and frustration and a strong desire to keep going, you’re not alone. Millions of family caregivers have come to this crossroads. Assisted living can help you continue to support your loved one while offering you a chance to tend to your own health.
We’d love to help you find the perfect assisted living community for your loved one. Today’s assisted living communities boast fun activities, compassionate staff, and excellent food. They maximize seniors’ independence, supporting them to live lives of meaning and purpose. To learn more, download our free guide.