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Day 3 – Support Systems

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Caregivers and people in caring professions can be at higher risk for things like social isolation, unhealthy stress, depression, and financial difficulty. The stress of these circumstances can also adversely affect close relationships.

In our dominant culture, the idea that you are supposed to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” makes some people feel like they can’t ask for help. Yet caregiving is not an easy thing to do alone! In the past, communities and multi-generational households shared the work of caregiving and made it less isolating. It’s much more difficult today.

Asking for help when you need it is critically important. Check in with friends, family members, your faith community, neighbors, and local organizations to see who might be available to support you. (If possible, do this before you really need help.)

Another thing to consider is that some of your relationships might be affected by caregiving. Limited time, added stress, financial and logistical challenges all make it harder to maintain your connections with others at the exact time you need them the most! When possible, set aside time to strengthen your friendships, or at least reach out to people and let them know that you may not be able to connect with them as often.

If you want to explore this topic more, this printable tool is an assessment of how a caregiving situation might be impacting your relationships.