Setting Boundaries as the Caregiver
Normally, people have no problems with respecting the invisible, unspoken boundaries dictated to us by both society and within our family units. However, when it comes to caring for our older family members, it can be hard for both them and us to distinguish the lines between those boundaries, and increasingly difficult to know when we might actually be overstepping when we only wanted to help. That’s why it’s important, especially in the realm of care-giving, to set those boundaries upfront and make sure they’re well in place beforehand. In that case, you’ll be able to better stand your ground if your loved one starts pushing them. If you confront a new situation, establish ground rules and boundaries moving forward. In this case, you’ll have a standard operating procedure the next time that type of situation arises.
One of the most common complaints amongst caregivers is that, at times, they feel taken for granted and unappreciated by their loved one. Often, they feel taken advantage of by always being asked to do this or that with little to no thanks in return. The caregiver may feel that they are being run ragged with little chance of reprieve in sight and with no thanks being given to them by their charge
Therefore, it is important for the caregiver to lay down some ground rules and boundaries. After all, you want to be there for them inasmuch as you are able, but you also deserve some time for yourself as well. No one wants to feel stuck doing the same thing day in and day out without being able to step back and catch their breath. So if you happen to be a caregiver and you’ve been feeling as though your loved one may be taking advantage of your presence, be sure and speak up. You deserve to have your feelings known, and you matter just as much as they do. Caregivers are naturally givers, so as much as you give, remember to take time for yourself as well.
It can be hard for us as caregivers to do that though, as we don’t want to make our loved ones feel as if they’re imposing on us, even if, sometimes, they unintentionally do. Rather, just make sure to let them know the boundaries that you have personally set, what you will and won’t do, and that you need some time for yourself once in a while. When you’re going to be away to take some personal time for yourself, it may also be important to reiterate to your loved one that you have made arrangements with someone that you trust to look after them while you’re away. No one wants to feel like they’re being abandoned, so it’s important that you let them know that you’re not abandoning them. Rather, you’re just taking a much-needed breather for yourself, but you’ll be back and ready to help them again soon. Everyone needs personal space every now and then, so it’s absolutely fine if you are in this situation
After all, you have to take care of yourself first before even thinking of taking care of someone else, and sometimes taking care of yourself means setting up boundaries and holding firm to them. It’s important to make sure that both parties know what to expect when it comes to their care and setting up clear parameters is a great way to establish and maintain expectations.