As you’ve taken on the role of primary caregiver for your aging parent, you’ve had many wonderful opportunities to spend more time with your parent, learn more about her and appreciate all she’s accomplished in life. The blessings around caregiving are bountiful. But as a caregiver, it’s not that difficult to cross that line from blessings to burdens as you sacrifice more and more to help your parent live on her own.
In order to continue with a healthy relationship with your parent where you help her live at home safely, you also need to set up boundaries so that you can continue to take care of yourself as you take care of her. Boundaries can be hard to set, especially for caregivers who struggle to say no. You may not even know where/when it’s okay to set boundaries. Let’s look at some areas where it’s important to set boundaries.
Set boundaries with your finances
Now more than ever, it’s important to have a budget and maintain it. While it may not seem like a huge financial commitment to pick up a carry-out lunch for your parent each day for the two of you, if you add it up and you’re spending $300-$400 a month on carry-out meals, and you don’t have that built into your budget, you’re going to need to pull that money from somewhere or worse, use a credit card to cover the expenses. Track your expenditures and then see where you can reduce spending such as making meals at home or using leftovers for lunch. It’s okay to say no to a request for take-out and offer other suggestions that are more financially prudent.
Set boundaries with your time
One of the joys of caretaking your aging parent is spending time together but if you’re like most caretakers, you also have other responsibilities and people in your life (including yourself!) that need your time. If you find visiting your aging parent can drag into hours and interrupt the time you need to get home and make dinner for your own family, set boundaries with your parent about how long you can stay. If you do this right up front, it won’t seem like you’re running out just as she’s telling you something important. It’ll also help you be more engaged during your time with your parent and not worrying about when you’ll get to your next appointment.
Set boundaries with your energy
In many ways, it’s more important to be present than be perfect in your time together. Dinners together don’t always have to be a fully homemade meal. Buy a pizza and share that together on nights when you’re especially exhausted. It’s the time spent that’s so much more important than the food consumed. If you find you don’t have the energy to help with daily housecleaning chores, hire a home care provider to fill in those gaps that deplete you so you can focus on what’s important.
Always be kind and polite when setting boundaries with your parent, explaining that the boundaries will help the two of you have better interactions together when you know you can safely have boundaries that will protect your mental, physical, and financial health.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Chino Hills, CA please contact the caring staff at Motherly Comfort Home Care, LLC today at (909) 610-3222.