Imagine trying to balance caregiving for two loved ones and career. I am so grateful that nowadays there is flexibility when it comes to working and being there for the family.
I am going to share with you my story, and the lessons I am learning while caring for my loved ones and trying to develop a career.
Ten years ago, my role changed from being a wife to be a carer for my husband. The change happened gradually. Due to hip osteoarthritis on his left leg, he developed severe pain and stiffness in his hip joint.
As the years went by, his mobility was significantly reduced, even the everyday tasks, such as shopping, getting dressed, getting out of the bath became more and more difficult and eventually impossible.
His doctor recommended an urgent operation, and on the 1st of September 2017, he went through a total hip replacement operation.
Fortunately, his surgeon performed a successful operation, and my husband has been slowly recovering. However, he has also developed Macular Degeneration on his left eye which prevents him from driving and other routine tasks.
While caring for my husband, I came across another challenge, our middle son, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis six years ago and it has mainly affected his legs.
Just like my husband, the symptoms are gradually getting more and more noticeable, and recently he had to give up his retail job, and he is now unable to drive.
He and his partner have separated, but two of his children live with him. The eldest is 14 and 12 respectively who have been of great help to him.
My son is now in the process of reorganising his life. As a mother, my main priority is to help him as much as I can. I have been driving him to doctor's appointment and offices where they provide support services and do as much as I can to make his life easier.
As a result of these, our income has also been affected and, even though, in the past, I have engaged in other sources of income, it has become my priority to get a proper balance between my career and caregiving.
These are some of the steps I have been following to ease the situation and could be helpful to those who are under stress and going through difficult circumstances.
Take good care
Taking care of yourself - physically, mentally, and emotionally are at the top of the list. Do your best to get a good night's rest. Eat a balanced diet and exercise, even if it is just taking 10 minutes walk outside.
I am passionate about my career. I need and want to work while simultaneously having to act as a caregiver for my husband and attending to the needs of my son.
Fortunately, in today's working world, technology has made working a more realistic option, granting the ability to manage workload while being present for caregiving duties.
Learn to Ask for Help
Asking for help is something that has not been easy for my son and I. We both feel uncomfortable about putting anyone out. Luckily he has come to terms with it, and he is now taking some counselling which is providing emotional support.
For me, finding time for myself in a peaceful and relaxing environment has been therapeutic. Community organisations have been of great help to me too.
Sometimes I wonder if I will be able to manage but on the other hand, I always take everything that comes to me as part of life, and I focus on positive aspects of every situation.
Have you ever come across challenging situations? How have you handled them?
With much appreciation