Friday, January 8, 2010

An excellent reminder and heads-up

I just read this post on on the ElderCareABC site and wanted to share it. I thought it was an excellent reminder and heads-up to those of us who care for others, and also for those who care for us.

Perhaps one of the most constant battles I have, and probably many or most other caregivers have, is not being blindsided by a "fix-it" personality. "I can fix it by taking care of..." and we're off to the races before realizing the cost. Maybe there's a better way I could have gotten something done--or helped someone else get it done--or realized I wasn't the right one to do it at all, and now I've exacerbated the situation.

If you're thinking about becoming a caregiver, count the cost. If you're not sure what that might be, then talk to others who are caregivers and listen carefully to their thoughts. Realize that you don't know what you don't know. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions, and don't shy away from being very honest with yourself up front. Taking care of the caregiver is just as important as taking care of the loved one, but it's something many or most of us tend to put aside till "later."

I learned a lot about what not to do after taking care of my father through his final year and those lessons took a serious toll in many areas, not the least of which was my own health. Going to caregiver support groups helped a LOT during that time, but I mainly tend to learn from my own experiences. I know more about myself and caregiving now, and feel I do a better job balancing the care for Mama and my own responsibilities and needs this time around. It ain't easy, though, so take care of yourself while you're helping your loved one.

If you are thinking of caregiving, keep in mind that you can't fix everything. Focus on what you truly are capable of doing consistently and well. Be honest with yourself--totally honest--and then do whatever you decide to the best of your ability. If you need outside help, don't fret--ask for it.

I hope this article encourages you, too.

Caregiver At Home

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