In my years of nursing and supporting caregivers, time and again I've seen the high expectations we have for ourselves. Caring for someone who has health challenges or is facing a tough diagnosis can cause so much pressure on a daily basis. Worries, decisions, coordinating care and conflicting responsibilities can make caregivers feel overwhelmed.
Shannon asks: My mother recently passed away. It was a peaceful death in her home, the way she wanted, however after two years of caring for her full-time I am now struggling with how to move forward in my own life.
In her weekly column, Natalie answers your questions about caring for a family member or friend who needs extra support -- and caring for yourself as a caregiver. "My daughter is the joy of my life but sometimes I feel incredibly stressed by the daily responsibilities and challenges of her disability. What can I do when I feel like this?"
My grandmother has terminal cancer and her doctor has told us that there are no further medical treatments that can be done for her. He says she will be receiving "palliative care." What does this mean?
My wife was recently discharged from the hospital and she is now on many medications. This is very new to me and I find all this medication confusing and overwhelming. What should I do?
Being a caregiver can be very demanding. Remember that it is not only okay to ask for support, it's necessary. Caregiving is not often something one person can do on their own, and asking for help is a sign of strength. Guilt comes from unrealistic expectations of what we are capable of doing.