Question: I am in my 40’s, married with two adolescent children who are in a lot of activities, and I work full-time. My elderly mother is starting to need more help in her home, and I am constantly running. My stress level is high and my doctor is concerned about my blood pressure. I’m not sure how much more I can stretch myself in all my roles. Any suggestions?
Answer: It certainly sounds as though you have a lot on your plate. Balancing all these roles can take a toll on not only your psychological well-being, but also your physical well-being. The American Heart Association website talks of how stress can impact your overall heart health: “Chronic stress is when stress is constant, and your body is in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time. Chronic stress may lead to high blood pressure, which can increase risk for heart attack and stroke.”
Your health and overall well-being must be a priority for you to be there for your family. Schedule time for yourself on your calendar and stick to it. Don’t feel guilty about doing this. You have no problem scheduling others’ needs, yours are just as important. Use the time to do something you enjoy and that gives you some time to relax. Exercise, getting good sleep, healthy eating, spending time with friends and family are all things that can promote your overall well-being.
ADRC staff would be happy to sit down with you and your mom to discuss options that are available to help her and you in your caregiving role. It starts with a conversation to learn more about what is important to you and your mom. From there we can discuss resources for you and her to consider that might be helpful. This can be things specific to her needs including help in the home, transportation, meals, etc.
It can also be things specific to your needs as a caregiver. This can include things available to caregivers both in the community and through ADRC. We have information on support groups and caregiver educational opportunities. Sometimes, meeting with other people that have similar experiences can be helpful to know that you are not alone. You might also learn from others’ experiences on how to manage your many roles. If a group isn’t appealing, one-on-one counseling might be another option that fits better for you.
The discussion ADRC staff has with you is based on what you identify as priorities. You can call (920) 448-4300 to connect with one of our specialists.