Letting go of care: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you read the title of this article?
You see, caring for a loved one – whether an elderly parent or a sick companion – brings out compassion, love, and dedication, but it’s also a challenging life transition.
I’m Sally, an experienced Independent Social worker.
This article is for you if, perhaps, like many families I work with, you are struggling with the complexities of caring for your loved one and the range of emotions that come with it.
Rest assured. Letting go of care is not about giving up care altogether.
It’s about bringing clarity and balance and allowing yourself to be a daughter, a son, a wife, or a husband again.
This article will help you recognise the signs that support might be needed, find out what solutions are available, and realise the benefits for you and your family.
- When to Let Go
In my experience, three signs suggest it’s time to let go and get support with caregiving duties:
- Feeling Overwhelmed
Life is busy. You’re probably juggling work, looking after your family, and caring for your loved one. Trying to be everything to everyone can leave you emotionally drained, depressed, or even anxious about the future.
If this is you, you are not alone.
- Neglecting Self-Care
Perhaps you provide the care at home and are on your knees with no time or energy to do anything else.
Or perhaps you feel you’re losing yourself and your identity, having to play so many roles readily.
Either way, you are at the bottom of the list and can’t prioritise yourself and your well-being.
- Impact on Relationships
The last sign you may need help with caregiving duties is when they negatively impact your relationships.
What does that look like?
- Dreading that Sunday meal together instead of looking forward to it.
- Feeling torn between your duties to your loved one and the rest of your family.
- Dealing with anger or resentment when you don’t feel seen, valued, and appreciated.
- Keeping busy, focusing on tasks nurses could do when you could slow down and just “be there”.
Many carers go through these difficult and stressful situations. If you do too, I can help.
In the next section, I’ll share actionable steps to help you stay connected with your loved one with care solutions that work for you.
- Where Do You Start?
- Honest Appraisal
Start with an honest assessment of your situation. Are the current arrangements benefiting everyone? Are they sustainable?
This initial assessment is uncomfortable, with feelings of guilt and letting the family down often rushing in.
But here’s the thing: you can’t provide optimal help while running on empty. When you feel lost, sad, and overwhelmed, it’s time to let go of care. It’s probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.
It involves stepping back and putting something else in place — and that’s okay.
It means entrusting daily care duties to professionals, allowing you to enjoy quality time with your loved one, and offering the emotional strength and support only you can provide.
- Conversation – with Yourself First.
Here’s a thought: what would you do if you had a magic wand?
How would life look and feel like for you?
Take a moment to reflect on your desires and plans.
Once you’ve identified this, you can start working on how, as a family, you can get there.
Be honest about the toll caregiving duties have on you, your well-being, and your relationships.
I often guide my clients through these conversations, and we consider some options together.
- Possible Care Options
These will vary for each family, but they can include:
- building a support system with friends and family to share the duties
- working with an independent social worker to identify the best outcomes and put a plan in place
- hiring a carer to visit home and help with shopping, cooking, or cleaning.
- social prescribing, where a GP recommends organised activities to reduce loneliness and maintain a social connection.
- looking into a care home or assisted living to ensure a safe environment.
- Anticipate Resistance
The truth is, most people don’t like change, especially as they get older.
So, bringing new people on board may be tricky. Perhaps your mum wants you and won’t accept anyone else.
But once you’ve considered a solution, present it with its genuine benefit, for example, giving you time and energy to spend precious moments together or care for yourself and the rest of your family.
Next, we’ll examine other benefits of letting go and transitioning care.
- Benefits of Transitioning Care
Letting go of care is a significant decision that, while challenging, can bring relief, hope, and transformative benefits for you and your family.
Think about it for a moment:
- Better Physical and Mental Health
A well-thought-out care plan gives you back time and breathing space. You can manage your mental and physical well-being, regaining the energy needed to cope with all your commitments.
- Personal Growth
With the all-consuming nature of caregiving, you might sometimes feel like you’re losing yourself.
Letting go of care allows you to rediscover your identity and purpose. You have the time and space to engage in activities that bring you joy, fostering personal growth and fulfilment.
And as a result, you become a source of emotional strength and support for your family.
- New Relationships
By transitioning care, you open the door to new dynamics for you, your loved one, and your family. A new-found confidence can stem from successfully navigating this transition. Maybe it’s time to book that time away, knowing your loved one will be safe and well looked after.
Letting go of care is a courageous decision.
It’s about recognising the signs of overwhelm and giving ourselves permission to regain balance and clarity.
There may be difficult moments, but you can still create a safe space for yourself and your family.
But you don’t have to do this alone.
My services are tailored to guide families like yours through these transitions, providing personalised solutions that put you and your family first.
You deserve to be happy.
If you’re ready to explore how letting go of care can bring positive changes in your life, get in touch today. I’d love to help!