How Awareness, Acceptance & Taking Action Can Help You Overcome Caregiver Fear
Most caregivers fear how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last, and how much it’s going to cost. We worry about what will happen if our care receiver’s condition worsens and we can no longer care for them ourselves. We worry about finding help or having to move out of our homes. We fear what our life will be like when our loved one dies, and sometimes we worry that we will die before they do. These are all legitimate fears, and if thoughts like these are keeping you awake at night, here are three steps that might help you feel more confident and a little less fearful:
1. Become aware of the things that frighten you most:
Put your fears in writing. Make three columns and title them:
- Might happen
- Likely to happen
- Worst possible thing that could happen
Putting your thoughts on paper will provide you with focus and clarity. It will help you identify what needs to be done to get your affairs in order. It will also allow your subconscious brain to stop working on these problems after you go to bed at night and continuously interrupting your sleep.
2. Accept that some of the things you fear will most likely happen:
If you are caring for someone who has a terminal diagnosis or a long-term progressive and degenerative disease, some of the things you fear will eventually happen. Accepting that you have no power to control the progression of the disease, the behavior of other people, or the eventual outcome can actually be empowering by helping you release your attachment to things you cannot fix or change.
3. Take action:
Review your list of fears in each of the three columns, and then ask yourself, “Is there something I can do now to get prepared for this? If so, what do I need to do and who can help me?”
There are many steps you can take to prepare ahead of a crisis that will make it easier to manage. You can find services for older people and their families in your area by Googling: https://eldercare.acl.gov. It is a free public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging.
If you’d like a free downloadable PDF with the end-of-life documents every person absolutely must have, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line write “End-of-Life Docs, and I will send it to you right away.
Then once you have done everything you can to prepare, take a deep breath and recognize that you have managed the situation so far. Know that you can’t predict how all of this will evolve. It won’t be easy, but trust that whatever happens, you will find the courage to face each challenge as it comes. You will have the wisdom to make the difficult decisions, and you will find the strength to do whatever has to be done.