Often when we speak of caregiving duties, we assume that the caregiver is taking care of ONE person. But what if you have to care for more than one person? This scenario is not uncommon, and it’s something that many families are faced with. Then, throw in the idea that your spouse may be caring for his or her parents, and you could have a lot of responsibility in a short amount of time!

If you’ve already been caring for one of your loved ones, you know how taxing this role can be. Checking in, running errands, calling in prescription medications, scheduling doctor’s appointments, paying bills – the list goes on. Times this by two? Now you’re talking insanity!

When families have multiple loved ones to care for, they have no choice but to enlist help from others, such as a home care agency. This ensures that their loved ones are safe, secure and cared for, while providing them time to care for their own needs. Still, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to push themselves, and this isn’t healthy.

If you find yourself in this same predicament – two or more people to care for and one set of hands – hire a family care agency and keep these tips in mind.

  • Understand your limits. You need to sit down and figure out what you can and can’t do, plain and simple. Don’t compare yourself to others or place unnecessary burden on yourself. You have limits, and you need to define these early on.

  • Acknowledge your sources. In order to accomplish what you can, look to the various resources you have, such as friends, family, finances, flexible hours at work, a senior center in your area and so on.

  • Be realistic, not just about what you can do, but others as well. If you know that your sister lives down the street  but has a full plate already, you can’t depend on her like you may want to. When you have realistic expectations of yourself and others, you can plan accordingly and feel less frustration.

  • Accept – and ask! – for help from others. If someone says, “call me if you want to grab some coffee and I’ll make your mom breakfast,” take this as a sincere gesture. If people don’t offer help, ask for it. Caregivers need a strong support network around them, but sometimes, they don’t take the time to build one.