Keep a diary. Start today. Describe your fears as well as your
hopes, the reality of what each day is like, Don’t be afraid to
write about the losses, big or small.
Stick with your diary. Let yourself record the little victories, go
back and review the earlier months and years. Notice the personal,
physical, emotional goals and successes you and your loved one have
Create a simple communication network. Think of this as a designated
communicator. Choose a friend or relative who will make all the calls
and tell all the news when there are calls to make and news to tell,
you might want to save the “big successes and wonderful news”
sharing for yourself, but you will be worn out if you are constantly
on the phone retelling the details of the last days or weeks over and
Let your friends help you. When someone asks “Can I do anything
for you?” give him or her something to do. Let your friend run an
errand or stay with your loved one while you take a break and get out
on your own.
Visit with people you love, You may often have to ask your friends
or family to come to your house or keep you company while waiting for
your loved one’s treatment to be over. You need to be a whole person
who has friends and interests and can think about something besides
the responsibilities of caregiving. You shouldn’t have to reinvent
your life when your caregiving responsibilities subside.
Stay involved in your loved one’s personal life. Be careful that
your loved one does not slip from the role of loved one, family
member, friend into the role of patient. Don’t let yourselves lose
the relationship you had prior to the need for caregiving.
Talk about it! There are innumerable fears and anxieties associated
with any illness or disease, which can and will tear a person apart.
Talk to your friends and your loved one about your feelings. The worst
thing you can do is build a wall around yourself to protect others.
Keep the romance alive. Couples facing caregiving situations are apt
to forget to nurture the relationship that brought them together up
till this point. These relationships need just as much, if not more
attention, now that one of you is ill, than they did before.
Include your loved one in your changes. As time passes we all change
in small and big ways. If you find a new friend, discover an interest
in a new genre of books or music, find a new recipe or great place to
eat, share these as much as possible with your loved one. Introduce
your new friends, have them visit, if your loved one cannot easily
leave the house. Spend time reading the new books aloud, listen to the
new music together.
Keep setting goals. Before you were a caregiver, you set personal
goals. Your life did not end because you became a caregiver. When the
caregiver duties subside, you should not “Return” to your life,
you should continue with your life.
to our weekly e-newsletter