Choosing Between Denial and Acceptance

getting-prepared-challenges-caregivingIf you are caring for someone who is aged, chronically ill or disabled, you are already familiar with many of the challenges of caregiving. You have become accustomed to making time and space in your routine to meet the needs of someone else. The most difficult challenge may be accepting the fact that as you go forward, there will be many more changes, most of which will be unwelcome.

As caregivers, we can either accept, adapt, and prepare for change, or we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to work out just fine. The problem with denial is that ignoring a problem or pretending it doesn’t exist will never make it go away.

So if you want to be in a position to control how you will survive the physical, mental, emotional and financial stress of caregiving, your first step will be to get prepared. Start with writing down the things that concern you, such as:

1. If your care receiver’s condition worsens, will you be physically capable of continuing to care for him/her?
2. If it becomes impossible for your care receiver to stay in his/her current home, what are the alternative choices?
3. Is there enough money to pay for care in an assisted living or memory care community?
4. Do you have the essential end-of-life documents in place?
5. If something should happen to you, who will take care of him/her?

Helping someone you love through a long illness and the final stages of life is difficult. You will have to make a lot of very difficult decisions while simultaneously trying to adjust to ongoing losses and changes. Nothing about this is simple, fun, or easy, but getting prepared will help you approach change with a sense of confidence and control.