Day 7 of 30 day Family Care Giving Series
We are in day 7 of our 30-day family caregiver series on family advocacy. In the spirit of giving support and advice for caregivers, by the end of this series, you will have the tools, checklists, and information needed to effective serve as a loved one’s advocate. We kicked off this series with a top 10 lists of what is means to be an effective advocate. (Day 1) then, I gave you 3 reasons why advocacy is a big deal (Day 2). Then, I shared the ultimate guide to staying organized; (Day 3). I showed you ways to be an advocate and affirmed that sometimes it’s okay to upset the applecart on (Day 4). We covered the four things our lives depend on in (Day 5). Then, we tackled self-care and advocacy (Day 6).
If you are an advocate or know someone who is an advocate, this is for you. If you anticipate you will make health care decisions for a loved one, this is also for you.Click to tweet If you would like to avoid the care giving mistakes I made, this is definitely for you. Lastly, this is for you if you think you may need care one day.
Part 4: The 3 C’s that make all the difference (Day 8-10)
Part 5: The surprising truth about who needs an advocate (Day 11-13)
Part 6: 5 ways you must keep your loved ones safe (Day 14-18)
Part 7: What? I have how much time to decide where they go? (Day 19 – 30)
Day 7: Frustration, Guilt and Overwhelm: The Ultimate Roller Coaster
Working through all the frustration, guilt, exhaustion and overwhelm… while still staying on top of things. THIS is what a day in the life of a family caregiver is like.
There were days I wanted it to all be over. I wanted my dad to die. I wanted my mom to die. I wanted to get in bed and stay there. I felt guilty for thinking everything would be so much easier if I just didn’t have to ‘deal’ with all of this. Then, I felt blessed to have my parents alive and be able to continue building memories and honing their legacy for future generations. I was glad my kids still had their grandparents in their lives.
Then, I would have given anything to just be alone for 5 minutes. I often couldn’t go to the bathroom without something happening, someone coming in to talk to me or calling me. There were many times it took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other. Then I’d feel bad that my parents were going through their own hell. Oh, and then there were my kids, the house, the bills, the dishes, the meals, the yard, the cars, etc…
Have you ever felt so impatient you felt like you were going to explode one minute and then cry out of compassion the next? Click to tweet. Have you ever felt so angry you were going to explode one minute and see something in your parents and feel complete unconditional love the next? All of this is just a sliver of what the life of a family caregiver looks like. Here are some ways to help get you through:
1. Cry – seriously. It’s very therapeutic.
2. Sleep, sleep, and sleep. You aren’t any good to anyone else if you aren’t getting enough rest.
3. Do something; anything for yourself. You deserve it.
5. Listen to your favorite music. Music is a universal language.
6. Take time together to ask questions about their lives… their regrets, dreams, best memories, etc… I promise you this will be time well spent. Click to tweet. This assumes, of course, that your loved one is in a condition to engage in conversations of this nature. My mom could and did share. My dad had short-term memory loss but was able to recall everything up to the date of his massive accident. Even then, sometimes he didn’t make sense. That was okay.
8. Eat right.
9. Make and keep doctors appointments for yourself.
10. Journal. Start a blog. You never know what the future holds. Maybe you’ll write a book one day!
MOST OF ALL… know, feel and believe that EVERYTHING you are feeling is completely normal. You are not a bad person for thinking non-loving thoughts at times. You are a champion. You are a rock star. You are demonstrating courageous acts of unconditional love. Know you are not alone.
“ Nearly three quarters (72%) of family caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should and 55% say they skip doctor appointments for themselves. 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits than non-caregivers and 58% indicate worse exercise habits than before care giving responsibilities. “ ~ National Alliance for Care Giving and Evercare
In my last blog post, I discussed how our attitude…our outlook on everything can literally mean the difference between life and death. I’m not suggesting that if everyone has a positive attitude, nothing bad will happen. I am saying that it helps! There are lots of studies connecting levels of happiness with health. There are stories about how the power of our mind heals.
A picture is worth a thousand words. We have heard that saying before. This phrase is certainly true in the case of visualization. Visualization, a form of self-hypnosis, is a tool anyone can use to help foster healing. Read more about this here:
Next up: The 3 C’s that make all the difference!
Your Turn: Are you or have you been a family care giving advocate? What resources did you use to help guide you in this role? What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a caregiver? Please comment below!
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