Caring for the Caregiver – 5 Ways to Ease the Burden on a Sole Caregiver

From - Originally published in the 2011 Irish Pensioner's Handbook Caregiving is and should be a family responsibility. ...

– From – Originally published in the 2011 Irish Pensioner’s Handbook

Caregiving is and should be a family responsibility. But oftentimes if a spouse is not available or able to be the caregiver, the primary caregiving responsibilities, for one or both parents, tend to fall on a sole family member – usually the eldest, grown daughter or the grown child that lives closest to the senior.

If you are a sole caregiver it’s important to avoid burnout and stress. You must take care of your health or you won’t be any good to the person for whom you are providing care. One of the best ways to avoid becoming overstressed is to enlist the help of other family members and friends. And, you should do so without feeling bad or guilty for reaching out.

The following are suggestions to get other family members or close friends involved:

Give each person a small responsibility, even if is it small, to help spread out the tasks. Even if your brother lives 1,000 miles away, make it his responsibility to call your elderly parent once a week to check in or to visit for a week each year to allow you to take your own family holiday.

Divide up the tasks – have a specific family member who handles the medical aspects of your relative’s care (talks with doctors, medication information, etc.), while another may be responsible for groceries/meals and another handles paying the bills. By dividing up the tasks, each person becomes more involved with the details or these tasks and can keep each other abreast of changes, issues, problems, etc.

Make sure to converse with other family members about your elderly relative. If you don’t express your concerns (e.g., debilitating health, amount of time you are spending caring for them, etc.), you can’t expect your other family members to know what you are thinking and feeling.

Don’t be a control freak. If you want to control every aspect of the care, other family members may be less apt to step in, thinking you have it all under control. They’ll be less able to understand your stress level if they believe you are creating it yourself.

If you don’t have other family members to help out, consider joining a local caregiver support group or involving outside friends, church members or professional caregivers to share the duties.


– For further information on home care options and more great tips from our blog, visit our website at or call us on 1890 930 013. They recently supported the publication of the 2011 Irish Pensioner’s Handbook. Download your copy here.

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