When we first met Janet, a 45-year-old VP of Marketing, we could tell she was no stranger to stress. She contacted us to advise on her mother’s care about a year into their journey together, and I remember being impressed at how organized she was. Balancing a demanding career, two teenage children, and a bustling household were all challenges she was managing. Her initial needs were for care management assistance so our certified care manager worked with them to solve some immediate challenges and create the plan that would be the roadmap for care.

As her mother’s condition progressed, Janet’s stress amplified. Our goal of keeping Janet’s mother, Janine, in her own home was failing due to several safety risks that were getting more difficult to avoid. She was leaving the house more often and had recently hurt herself in a nighttime fall. Janet’s brother was 3000 miles away and he did help pay for some of Janine’s needs, but he was unable to physically provide support. They asked our care manager to help them figure out the best options for a move. Janet did not disappoint with her list of specific requirements. We met with Janine, Janet, and her brother. We had our care manager, placement assistant, and placement consultant in the meeting. As the placement consultant, I assured them that we were up to the task. We decided, as a team, that the best thing for everyone was going to be for Janine to move into a small, assisted care home near Janine’s house. It was very personalized care provided at the level of service that Janine was accustomed to. It was one step up from the in-home caregivers currently caring for her in her own home but had the security measure to assure that she wouldn’t leave and become lost. It also was going to give her socialization options.

We helped manage the process with the family and got Janine settled. We noticed though that as we were moving her, Janet was going through an emotional letdown process.

The weight of managing her mother’s medical appointments, medications, and daily needs while juggling her existing responsibilities had left her feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained. She found herself snapping at her kids, she confided, as well as neglecting her own health, and struggling to find even a moment of peace amidst the chaos.

One afternoon, during the move, she confided in us that she was worried about the overwhelming burden she was carrying.

We shared the name of the book, The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers, which we knew would help. She downloaded it immediately to listen to it during her commute to and from work. When we talked with her a week later, she said the book was a lifeline for her. It helped her navigate the emotions she was feeling from caregiving and find ways to take care of herself in the process. She said she had lost herself and was starting to get back to herself.

As she started reading, she was surprised to find herself drawn into the stories of other caregivers facing similar challenges. The book didn’t offer magical solutions, she told me, but it provided a sense of validation and understanding that Janet desperately needed.

Through the book, Janet learned about the importance of setting boundaries, communicating effectively with family members, and seeking out support groups. She began incorporating self-care practices into her routine, taking short walks, meditating, and reconnecting with hobbies she had neglected. I was surprised to see her when she showed up to the Alzheimer’s support group we lead.

While the journey of caregiving remained challenging, Janet found herself better equipped to handle the emotional ups and downs. She realized that she wasn’t alone in her struggles and that there were resources available to help her navigate this difficult chapter of her life. The book gave her hope, guiding her towards a path of resilience, self-compassion, and emotional survival.

If we can help you with care management, placement assistance, or share support group information or books that may help you in the path of caring for an aging loved one, please reach out today!