Do You Realize You Will Most Likely Care Give More Than Once?
I compare caregiving the first time around to being chased by a hungry/angry bear as you’re running a marathon. Sure, you’ve got to pace yourself, but you also better run like hell.
You don’t usually have the time or foresight to plan your caregiving the first time around.
It’s just one big chaotic frenetic fear-fest!
But what if you knew you were going to have to care give again?
Most likely, you’re going to care give a parent the first time. But you have two parents…and you might have in-laws…and a spouse…and siblings…and god forbid, you have children that might need you to care give them–life is unpredictable.
That’s a lot of caregiving!
I hope you–nor I–have to care give all those people, but as you can see from the list, you’re most likely going to have to do it again.
What Have You Learned From Caregiving The First Time?
(Here’s a few of mine)
- I learned to get prepared and organized–from the get go
- I learned to protect my time, heart, and energy–every day
- I learned not to fret about every little thing said or done–neither what I did or what was done to me
- I learned not to give doctors or other medical personell carte-blanche. They don’t love my family member like I do
- I learned not to let caregiving (people or the process) control me or my life
- I’m not so afraid of the end of life–I hope to embrace this tender time and hold it sacred
If caregiving is a marathon, then the next time I vow to turn around and tell the bear to back off~
You can’t worry about your caregiving future.
Live life now. Live big and with open arms. If caregiving comes your way again, it won’t be the same experience. It will teach you new things.
If You’re In Between Caregiving Times:
- Be totally selfish. Take care of you. Recoup.
- Do the things you put off. This won’t replace the loved one you lost, but use this time to keep your promises to yourself.
- Look enough ahead that caregiving won’t completely side-swipe you
- Do the prep-work: get those living wills signed, know where those important papers are, talk about long range plans
- Put your family on notice–let them know just because you gave care once doesn’t mean you’ll automatically do it again
If It’s Your Spouse You’ll Be Caregiving Next
Caregiving your spouse is different. It kicks up all kinds of emotions. Be gentle on yourself.
You might feel scared for your own future. Angry they didn’t take care of their health before now. Weepy–your heart is wrenched.
How much time do you have left? What is the quality of that time together?
This is a very intimate, tender experience. Be present. Spousal caregivng isn’t about managing the situation–it’s much closer to the heart. at some point, let the rest of life fall away.
Caregiving is a Part of Who We Are–It’s Not The Whole of Who We Are
You are actually a good caregiver to stay outside of the emotional hurricane of caregiving.
You don’t prove that you love someone by being miserable with them.
Many times, our loved ones want us to feel what they’re feelings.
You know the old cliche’, “misery loves company?” It’s true. If we’re depressed, we tend to cloud the atmosphere and dare anyone to be cheery. It’s difficult to live with a person who has Alzheimer’sand not get pulled into the vortex of lethargy, melancholy, and numbness.
Caregiving is a Natural Part of Family Life
We just recently came up with this fancy name.
We’ve always had mothers, fathers, spouses who need us. Family caregiving was just the norm–and it was just being a family. The kicker now is how long we’re all living!
Enjoy Life–Enjoy Caring for Those You Love–And Don’t Over-Think!
Keep it natural. Love those who are in your circle.
Love life and appreciate your health, your family–and don’t over-think it all. Don’t try to do it all, be it all.
Care Give Loose!
Life is constantly changing. We have to learn to love and let go, love and let go.
(If I figure out how to do this, I’ll let you know).
Family Advisor at www.Caring.com
Syndicated Blog at www.OpentoHope.com