Caregiving can be a challenge. In order to minimize that challenge, a Caregiver can learn a few tools to help themselves have an easier time of it. By following these 5 suggestions, some of the burden of Caregiving can be minimized. Let’s be clear. These tools do not take away the tasks the Caregiver must perform, but they take away some of the BURDEN of the tasks.
- First, Caregivers are truly angels. They work to assist others with little or not thought for themselves most of the time. Learning to appreciate oneself based upon the amount of help given to others is the first step in releasing the burden. It is about knowing that the work one does as a Caregiver is truly valuable. That makes the Caregiver valuable. Sometimes Caregivers feel invisible to others, but if they, themselves, know their own self-worth, what others do or do not know about their job is a moot point.
- Often Caregivers get depressed because the person for whom they care is a spouse or family member. The family member may no longer be the same person they were due to injury or disease. This fact can cause a Caregiver to miss that family member as they knew them before the injury or disease. That loneliness on the part of the Caregiver can lead to depression. Here is the trick–think of something you enjoyed doing with your survivor prior to the stroke. Remember the “feeling, the emotion” that you felt at that time. Here’s the thing, the human brain cannot tell the difference between a feeling it once felt and how that same emotion feels now. So all a Caregiver has to do is “remember” that old feeling, and it will be felt again. That old love is still there.
- A powerful lesson I learned while taking care of John occurred one morning after we moved to a small apartment from a larger home. In the new place, John could not get in and out of the bathtub on his own so now the additional task of adding “bathing John” was added to my daily repertoire of job, writing, Caregiving, housekeeping, and all of the other tasks involved in just living. I was getting upset because I had to schedule one more thing each day, and thinking “I have to do this daily, too“. One morning, the light bulb in my brain went off and I decided to try thinking “I GET to do this task and provide a loving service to John“. To my joyful surprise, all of a sudden the Burden of doing this task lifted. This was a huge result from changing only one small concept in my thought process. I changed “have-to”, to “get-to”. Simple and extremely effective.
Stay tuned for the next post for the other 2 hints!
For more information about the book, see my personal website at http://www.dontstopthemusic.co
Nancy is on Twitter @wecknan