An empowered Caregiver must be able to assess and overcome many challenges including the ones they create themselves. With some positivity, words of encouragement and learning to let go, will create a better relationship between you and your Aging Parents.
Defining The Challenge:
Sometimes as Caregivers, we face challenges which we are creating ourselves.
We feel that we are doing the right thing and have the best intentions for the person we are caring for.
Maybe following us into this new relationship are some laden emotional baggage because we are upset that we are the one who got stuck with this job and not your sibling(s).
We enter into new relationships with the sum of all of our experiences. The same can be said about the one you enter into with your parents as their Caregiver.
To help you become Empowered not Overpowered in your new role will be the ability to separate any past experiences, any preconceived notions about someone and any negative attitude from interfering with it.
Relationships will always have two points of view. When you are aware of this and by shedding a little and weight out of your emotional baggage, it will help in avoiding some of the challenges we tend to create ourselves.
First of all, stop being angry at the situation. You are now the Caregiver so accept it and move forward. By holding onto these emotions while trying to perform in this role is unproductive and destructive. They will only lead to more stress and you will end up becoming another challenge for yourself to overcome.
The key to success will be learning how to overcome emotional challenges as you move forward in this journey with your aging parent or loved one.
You may be asking yourself how did I get stuck as the Caregiver? Honestly, there isn't any good answer for this - it just happens. Now that it is you, being able to move forward there may be other questions you'll need an answer to; like am I going to have to do this on my own?
If you already know this answer, then let it go and be ready to move on knowing who you will or will not be able to rely on to be on your Care Team.
A Mile In My Shoes
Circling back to this as a new relationship. Not only is this a new role for you, this is a new role for the person you are caring for also. You may be dealing with your own emotions, but what do you think your loved one is feeling right now?
Put yourself in their shoes. It is important for you to understand your loved one's point of view in order for this relationship to work.
They are in a vessel that is now unfamiliar to them. Their body doesn't move the way it used to. They are afraid to move in it. They may have a constant fear of falling. They are unable to control it. They still want to do things on their own but their new body won't let them.
Newsflash. Its not you. It is the sum of all of their experiences which is causing much of the frustration the Caregiver senses. Most of the time they are not angry with you but rather they are wrapped up in their own world trying to figure out how did they end up this way, where did the time go and will today be the last day I wake up.
Words Of Encouragement:
The situation has come full circle. Remember as a kid being bullied in the school yard or having that mean math teacher? Remember how your parents helped you through that situation. They were there for you then by providing words of encouragement so you would be brave enough to get up and go back to school the next day. This is what your parent needs from you today.
Your positivity and words of encouragement will go a long way. Therefore by learning to let go of some of your angst will allow you to become more astute to the scary world your loved one is in now too.
The approach is very simple: observe - evaluate - then execute.
"Hey Dad I understand that getting out to the deck was easier before. Maybe if we use the transport chair it will be easier to get you out there."
"Hey Mom I understand those stairs are getting harder for you so let's look at some alternative showering options."
"Dad, I know you enjoy your caregivers company so let's have her help you with (this task.)"
"I know Grandma that you used to be able to do that on your own, but maybe if we try this will make it better for you."
"Hey Dad, maybe if you use this cup cozy you'll be able to grip your favorite mug better."
Many times Caregiver complain about their loved one being difficult, stubborn or constantly fighting them. It is not you. They are not expecting anything from you. They do not want to be relying on you either.
By extending a little kindness and offering constructive solutions that help them to better navigate from their new vessel will improve the working relationship between the two of you.
A little patience, some understanding and compassion are traits of an empowered Caregiver. By knowing a little more about what's going on in the world of the person you are caring for will help overcome the challenges of frustration that exists within this new relationship.
Stressful situations are going to greet you on most days so check the emotional baggage at the front door. This role is going to have many personal challenges but at some point you must learn how to Let it Go. You are the Caregiver now, so own it.
By learning how to mix tools and support resources which are best for you will help you along this journey with your aging parent or loved one.
Always remember, you do not have to make this journey alone. Talk to someone, don't let it fester. When a friend's advice doesn't fit your situation- which most times it won't, connect with a support professional.
My sister and I understand. What we are sharing with you here today comes from our experiences. We were just like you - felt lost alone in all of this. Our friends couldn't relate at the time. Our parents were much older so Journey with Aging Parents started sooner. My sister and I went through this alone, but you don't have to.
I have created a platform to support us - adult children of aging parents, to become prepared and aware of what lies ahead on the Journey with an Aging Parent or Loved one.
At the Aging Parents Management - Homecare Management Marketplace, you will find amazing resources to help support you with challenges while in the role as your Parent's Caregiver or Care Manager.
We also provide helpful tips through Home Work Assignments, like these here:
Find a practice such as Yoga to help learn how to Let it Go.
Have the conversation with your siblings to Get It Off your chest, Let it Go and Move On.
Practice kindness to create a more positive relationship with the one you are caring for.
Before reacting to a situation, take a deep breathe first, wait five minutes - if you still feel the same about it then move forward.
Grow your support network - Our Forum & Facebook Group
We are here to Help you Navigate the Journey with An Aging Parent or loved one.
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