Five Steps to Help Caregivers Cope with Change

Caregiver self-careCoping with change is something most caregivers have to do almost daily. Your care receiver’s health changes. The things you can still do together change. Your freedom to come and go as you please changes.

As I pondered my topic for my January article for Griswold Home Care’s “CaringTimes” Blog, it seemed that the logical choice would be to write about New Year’s resolutions focused on caregiver self-care.

As I thought about it though, I decided that the resolutions caregivers make at the beginning of the year about self-care are often long forgotten by Valentine’s Day. I have come to the conclusion that the only way we can truly keep any commitment to doing things differently is to first get comfortable with the idea of change.

In my article, “Make Peace with Change, One New Year’s Resolution Every Family Caregiver Should Make for 2015”, I offer five steps that can help family caregivers make peace with change and focus on self-care. Here’s a synopsis:

1. ACCEPT – The only thing we can count on absolutely is the fact that things will change. There is a cycle to life. We will have good times and bad times, and neither will last forever.

2. PERMISSION – Give yourself permission to be less than perfect and stop doing some of the things you have felt obligated to do in the past. Accept that it’s okay to ask for help and that you have the right to say, “No.”

3. PRIORITIZE – In order to avoid physical and emotional collapse, you will need to prioritize your “To-Do” list. Only make the things that are truly important a priority. Let everything else go.

4. EXPECTATIONS – Be honest about your feelings toward the changes you have already experienced as well as the losses that you expect will occur in the future. Accept that all of your feelings (including the negative ones) are legitimate. Try to focus on the abilities and skills that your loved one still has and the pleasures you can still share, rather than all that’s been lost.

5. PREPARED – Eliminate fears and avoid family battles by getting your end-of-life documents in order so you can control how your healthcare and finances will be managed during the final stages of your life.

Click on this link to read the entire article: “Make Peace with Change, One New Year’s Resolution Every Family Caregiver Should Make for 2015”