In the United States of America, there are 66 million unpaid caregivers. That is 29 percent of country’s adult population. All of them are providing help for their loved ones who are ill, disabled, or just have aged. The ratio between male and female caregivers is two to one for females. According to a survey in 2012, the average age for caregiver was 48. And they have spent 25 hours weekly giving care to others. For anyone involved in the business of caregiving, they know the work is like a marathon race. It is rarely a sprint. Caregiving is all about planning, adjusting, and eventually doing. All of this sometimes requires you to give all that you’ve got, and some people just can’t be a caregiver.
What If You’re Not Caregiver Material?
So, what are you going to do when caregiving is not an option for you? Sometimes in your life, your own health, career, and commitments just won’t allow you to take on the responsibility of caregiving.
When a situation is like this, it creates an internal conflict. Also, the comments and judgment from the outside will hardly miss your ear. The two things combined might make you feel bad about yourself. If you can’t be a caregiver, no judgment, both from inside and outside, will help.
When it comes to this, what you need the most is self-compassion. Self-criticism won’t help you out. What you need to do is to embrace the reality and the limits of your availability. If you try to give yourself to caregiving, without having the time nor space to commit fully, you will only do harm – both to yourself and to the person you should provide with care.
That is the main reason why you should avoid being a caretaker. And you shouldn’t feel guilty whatsoever. At the moment when you realize that you cannot fully commit to caregiving, you need to know that that’s the best solution for both parties. The noble sacrifice is never a permanent solution. Doing what you know that is right is always better option than doing something against your will and ability. The later one can prove unhealthy and destructive for all parties involved.
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