Recognizing Caregiver Burnout: Meghan’s Story
When a parent or another family member starts to require more assistance on a daily basis, many individuals consider taking on the caregiver role themselves. Even with professional careers of their own, many people take on the role of caregiver because they feel it is the right thing to do or that they are the best person for the job. In particular, those who work in the healthcare industry may feel that they are uniquely qualified to provide care for their loved ones.
However, taking on the duties of a caregiver can essentially equate to taking on a full time job. Many of us do not have the capacity to take on such a large role by ourselves and balance it with our existing career and family responsibilities.
Last year, a Pittsburgh physician, Meghan N., found herself in a difficult situation. Meghan’s mother began to require additional care because of a newly diagnosed medical condition. Meghan felt inclined to take charge even though her sister and other family members were willing and able to assist. As a physician, Meghan felt she had a unique understanding of the healthcare system and knew what to expect from medical appointments as well as what questions to ask. However, it didn’t take long for Meghan to find herself overextended. While her mother’s medical condition did improve, Meghan’s own health and emotional well-being began to suffer.
“In only a few months I had gained weight, was barely sleeping and became very edgy all the time,” Meghan remembers. “I forgot to check in with myself. I didn’t realize that caregiver burnout is a real thing and that I was experiencing it. The stress of taking care of my mom on my own was completely wearing me out.”
Meghan realized that she needed to take a step back and asked her sister to help. Meghan saw the necessity of working with her sister to care for their mother and share the caregiving duties. She was able to find balance and let go of the idea that she had to do everything on her own.
Meghan hopes that her story can help other potential caregivers understand that there is only so much you can do on your own, regardless of your level of commitment. “I am now much more pragmatic with my approach for taking care of my mom and work hard to balance it with other parts of my life. I have a better understanding of my limitations and how I need to communicate with the rest of my family. Now I ask for help when I need it.”
We are here to help. Our elder law firm in Pittsburgh does more than just react to problems. We are proactive lawyers who help you plan for your future, to preserve health and wealth for you and your loved ones. We are experienced elder law attorneys and can help to guide you through the difficult times.
To discuss your specific needs and to find out how we at Fingeret Law can help you, please call us at 412-254-8533 or contact us online.