Many are finding themselves taking on the arduous role of caregiving for a loved one. How many of us can lay claim to even a few of the qualifications that are necessary to do so?
I never thought of myself as a caregiver during the years of devoting 24 hours, seven days a week of care, but according to the professionals, I was a caregiver, without any training and understanding of what the job entailed.
Soon I learned that caregiving was involved with every aspect of daily life. In short, it is a crash course in life, love, and often a loss for which most of us are never prepared. But it was also deeply rewarding, because it requires us to draw upon our deepest, most compassionate, and often most-loving selves.
During that time, I found that there were strategies that kept both of us going. Here are some of them:
1. A positive attitude is often the most important ingredient.
2. Communication is key: It is essential to find respectful ways of communicating our needs, feelings, concerns, and frustrations.
3. Use available tools and resources: family, friends, neighbors, and organizations to help support our daily physical and emotional needs.
4. Be open to change and let go of the outcome. Be flexible and adaptive, as such will often reduce the stress of the situation.
5. Don’t spend unnecessary time going through the Internet looking for answers. For medical guidance, just go to the experts, doctors.
6. Be open to health care alternatives such as message, hypnosis, and holistic remedies.
7. Plan something simple to look forward to every day: a TV show, a walk around the park, a drive to a scenic location.
8. Take care of the caregiver. Make some time for your self-care every week. Have a friend cover for you or ask the Senior Village.
9. Focus on the good things, no matter how small. Express gratitude whenever possible.
10. Remember that life will move forward, and you have to learn how to weather the storm and how to dance in the rain.
Please feel free to reach out to us, come to our meetings on the second Saturday of the month at SaddleBrooke One Arts & Craft building, Room 4, from 10 a.m. until noon on Nov. 12 and Dec. 10.