How Are You?
Really, I want to know, how are you as you walk this journey of a family caregiver? As a caregiver you are often asked about the person you are caring for. Often times you are so busy caring for others that you do not have time to think about how you are feeling. The role of a family caregiver is rewarding. It is a sense of satisfaction knowing that you are providing care to a loved one in need. However rewarding, there may be times that you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, guilty, angry, confused and unappreciated. There may be times that you find yourself grieving the way things use to be. It is not easy seeing your loved one in a state of dependency. You may be caring for a loved one who is in a coma or brain-dead. Someone that is confused and may be unable to recognize who you are. Someone who struggles daily with their illness and there is nothing you can do to relieve the pain. Someone who can no longer bath themselves get dressed with out the assistance of another person or perform household functions or pay their bills.
It is important to address your feelings, thoughts and fears. Take time out and ask yourself; How am I doing? How am I feeling? Recognize that emotional feelings of guilt, helplessness, anger or resentment are normal and often experienced by family caregivers. Learn to balance personal demands with the demands of your love one. Realize there are limits to what you or anyone else can contribute to the situation. Keep in touch with your friends and continue to be involved with social activities. Give yourself credit and realize that you are not perfect. Learn from your caregivers' journey and allow your learned experience to be an encouragement to other caregivers. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to take care of you.
May God grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change. The courage to change the things you can and give you the wisdom to know the difference. Now really, how are you feeling?