It happens to many of us: we watch a dear friend provide full-time care for aging parents, and we marvel at her patience and kindness. We silently offer thanks that it’s her and not us, because, well, she’s patient and kind! And then one day we realize that our parents need help.
If you suddenly find yourself among the group of people Mayo Clinic calls “informal caregivers” who provide 80 percent of the long-term care in the United States, be patient with yourself. Take heart in knowing that even the most selfless and compassionate caregivers struggle with balancing personal needs with familial obligations. Caregiver stress and burnout can take a tremendous toll on your own physical, emotional, and mental health. If, like most caregivers, you’re trying to maintain a career, or you have your own active family to manage at the same time, the overwhelm can feel unbearable.