What do you wish you would have known before becoming a caregiver to your loved-one? You are a surrogate decision maker; simply defined, you are a proxy, substitute, stand-in, representative, back-up, and a necessary ambassador…knee-deep in the role. What are you chasing to understand? What medical equipment are you wishing you had “NOW”? Who are your support systems; and what conversations should have occurred earlier? Why is my loved one confused? Is there a problem with medications? Which one? Do I know the side-effects of medications? When is the next doctor appointment? Why is my loved one losing weight before my very eyes? Why am I finding hair on the pillow every morning?
These are real questions, needing real answers. The role of caregiving takes on many forms and is impactful globally. I have mentioned many times over there are stages one travels in the caregiving space. The complexity, often underestimated by those who have not experienced the challenges, stress, and strain; would maybe offer more unsolicited support if understood. The overall outcome is the health, safety, and well-being of our love-ones.
We should expect the family to take an active role. If each of us would think back, or look at baby and childhood pictures, we would see our family and support systems were at our side. Have you heard the term, once an adult, twice a child? It means, we were warned at birth, that we will need care as we live, breathe, and age. We came into the world needing care and we will need care in our wonder years as the end of life is sure to come.
On the journey of caregiving….taking care of you is required in the process. Caregiving is diverse and the timing of becoming a caregiver is different for everyone; and for sure the care experiences are different as well. Because of this, do not forget to acknowledge your need for a break.
As your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I am encouraging you to breathe. Caregiver life is a wonderful life. Giving of yourself to others is a selfless act that will always be respected and full of gratitude.