Women and Caregiving

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Caregiving is an important and stressful job. This is true whether you care for an ill parent, partner or child.

Women caregivers report that they are often isolated. They may feel that nobody understands how strongly their role as caregiver affects their lives. While these women may feel needed, they also often have negative feelings. These can include:

  • resentment and anger towards the loved one and about the situation;
  • guilt for wanting freedom;
  • grief over the loss of a shared dream; and
  • bitterness for being trapped in this role.

You and your loved ones need to recognize and accept these feelings.

Take care of yourself

Remember, as the caregiver, you need to look after yourself. That way you can meet your own needs as well as those of your loved ones. Here are some ways you can help yourself and your family:

  • Accept offers of help and ask for specific favours. For example, have someone visit while you go out. Let someone shovel your snow, or have prescriptions delivered.
  • Make a list of things that you like to do and things you don't like to do, then give away as many of tasks you dislike as possible.
  • “Escape” regularly. Find at least half an hour each day to enjoy a hobby, go for a walk, or join a caregiver support group.
  • Look into respite programs and caregivers support networks.
  • If your partner is ill, get your paperwork in order. Is there a current will? Do you have power of attorney? Do you know what life insurance and employee benefits you are entitled to?

Whenever you can, give yourself a break. You can't help anyone else if you are in need of help yourself.

Where can I go for more information?