Working caregivers helping out sick or disabled loved ones are often trying to balance far too much. Career, business travel, kids, and running a household are already overwhelming. But when you add caregiving to an already maxed out schedule, a working caregiver’s life can seem utterly unmanageable. One of the best ways to get back into balance is to take better care of your mental health. But many working caregivers are on a tight budget due to paying for home care, assisted living or other services for their sick loved ones. Here are three ways working caregivers can tend to their mental health on a budget:
1. See if your employee benefits offer employee assistance sessions. Sometimes the first few sessions are totally free and don’t require a co-pay.
2. Seek a free or low cost mental health clinic. Many mental health clinics exist across the United States and they have sliding scale or even free counseling services. Often they utilize students working on masters and doctoral degrees in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy or other relevant degrees. While you may not get the most experienced therapist in the world, you will receive help from someone who has some training and certainly supervision by a licensed professional.
3. Consider a support group. They exist to offer support for nearly anything you may be struggling with. There are thousands of support groups available throughout the country that specifically help caregivers. But there are some support groups that specialize in hoarding, depression, anxiety, diabetes, grief, etc. They are almost always free, exist in pretty much every community and are typically led by a qualified trained professional.
Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.