When you are in the depths of caregiving, it can seem like there’s no end in sight. After all, so much of your time and energy has gone into looking after someone in their final stage of life, which can be all-consuming. It can almost feel like a time warp—and when it’s all over, it can leave you, the caregiver, feeling helpless and at a loss for words.
When caregiving ends, you have to remember there’s going to be intense feelings that follow. There may be confusion since you had to put your life on hold to care for an aging parent, friend or relative. Exhaustion may run rampant, as you are finally catching up on sleep and not working around-the-clock. It’s important to remember to forgive yourself—for not being the perfect caregiver, for feeling impatient or angry at times. It’s important not to live in a world of “what ifs” when your trajectory as a caregiver ends.
Re-entering the world without someone to look after can seem daunting. There may seem like so many hours in the day and you wonder how to structure your time. Loneliness is a big aspect of this phase, as there can be a real emptiness and void that comes from not feeling needed in the same way. Sure, you are still needed in the world, but not on the hour-by-hour way you were when caregiving.
It’s crucial to take small steps into re-entering your life again by planning small activities or hobbies that make you feel connected to others around you and your community. Volunteering at various nonprofit organizations can make you feel good about using your skills to help others; joining a club or hobby group can acclimate you to a new social circle; taking a class can stimulate your mind and get you thinking about the next chapter of your life.
In the end, when caretaking ends—it’s time to take care of you. Eat right, get adequate sleep, exercise. Keep in mind that you did an incredible thing by being there for someone who truly needed you. Your financial situation may change, for better or worse, and it’s important to take note of whether you’re in the black or in the red. Talking to a therapist or counselor is a very viable option, particularly if you’re having trouble with the emotional aspects of life after caretaking.
Help at Home can provide around the clock care for your senior loved ones by providing a stable, positive environment for seniors living with Alzheimer’s, helping them to stay active, social, and stay healthy.
Located in Greenwich, CT, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care / Help at Home, LLC is proud to be a top rated home health care provider in Fairfield County, CT, Westchester County, NY, Manhattan, NY and beyond. Our clients are our family and we treat everyone with compassion and care. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your loved ones.