Michelle Melendez: Caregivers – Burnout, Guilt, and Mental Health
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
“Part of love and care is knowing when you need to bring in help. Even if you’re not providing the direct care, by getting appropriate care, adequate care, supervised care, you are providing care,” emphasizes Michelle Melendez, a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience. Michelle’s caregiving journey began 13 years ago when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At her private practice, she now specializes in supporting clients as they work through burnout and caregiver stress to discover true self-care.
In the midst of caring for her mother, Michelle began forgetting to take care of herself. This experience taught her that seeking out help is not a sign of failure, but rather a crucial component of caring for the ones you love. While caregivers often feel a sense of guilt when they delegate some of their responsibilities, failing to do so leaves the door wide open for burnout. By carving out time for self-care and realizing she didn’t have to do everything alone, Michelle was able to break out of her burnout and become an even better caregiver to her mother.
Tune into today’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast for a conversation with Michelle Melendez about self-care, guilt and caregiving. Hear tips that Michelle has learned through caring for her mother and how she was able to overcome her burnout.
“This is a personal decision that you have to make. It’s not about what other people tell you to do, because you’re the one who has to live with this. This is not easy. It’s going to change your life… in every way. You don’t have to do this… You may not be the best candidate for the job, even if you have a good relationship. You don’t have to provide the care. Part of caregiving isn’t always providing the care directly…also care is, I can’t do those things but I’m going to help you get services or someone who can help you.” (11:47-12:37)
“The idea of ‘well no one could do it as good as me.’..If you keep holding onto that idea that only you could do it right, nobody else can, then that’s just going to lead to your demise.” (25:53-26:15)
“Part of love and care is knowing when you need to bring in help. Even if you’re not providing the direct care, by getting appropriate care, adequate care, supervised care, you are providing care. Many people think, ‘If I’m not completely immersed in it 24/7 then I’m not being a good caregiver.’ No. That’s not even a realistic expectation.” (27:00-27:30)
“I’ve been saying goodbye for 13 years. Mom is here, but not really? So dealing with that is such a complicated experience and one in which again, it’s only over time that you can kind of adapt to it. I think for me, one of the hardest things…my mom was not only my mother, she was also like my best friend…When Alzheimer’s came, I lost all these roles in my mother. I lost mom, I lost my good friend, I lost a mentor…I got to a place in my experience and said to myself, ‘Michelle you didn’t lose your relationship with your mom. It’s just redefined now. It’s different.’ We still have that relationship, but it’s just different now… In terms of grieving that, there is no formula…It hurts…For me accepting that sure, things have changed. But it’s just different now. She still is my mom. She still is my best friend. She still is that person in my life that I look up to the most.” (34:07-36:29)
“Self-care is a safety measure because it gives you the tolerance to deal with those difficult moments.” (44:24-44:35)
Michelle's Email: email@example.com
Alzheimer's Association: https://www.alz.org/
National Alliance for Caregiving: https://www.caregiving.org/
If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today: bit.ly/callcait