STRUGGLES OR CHOICES: A CAREGIVER’S DILEMMA

Feb 5th, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Caretakers Have Needs Too

The nest is now empty.  While we are caring for my 93 year old mother in our home, we are involved in a Hospice program that allows us some periodic flexibility. We have 3 dogs, something of a consideration when we want to be away for a while.  For sometime now we have limited ourselves in being able to have the choice to travel and do some things we have wanted to have the freedom to do.  International travel.  Weekend get-aways.  Having the chance to be with some friends for a few days.

Most of these occasions have to do with determining between struggles or choices. If we feel that we are in a situation of obligation, then it becomes more of a struggle.  If it is a choice, feeling freed from responsibility for a period, that can be less guilt inducing.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to reward yourself is a healthy and necessary consideration.  Continuing to take on caretaking, overseeing, obligation-accepting roles will help set you up for a potential downturn.  Everyone, as we age, needs to be able to have some latitude for flex time, release occasions in which there are chances for catching your breath, taking a break, being released from what feels like too many demands.

Struggles vs Choices

A struggle is an obligatory commitment in which, no matter what, you feel under pressure to continue being the omnipresent server of needs, always available and present protector.

A choice recognizes that calling others in to allow your having a respite, to enable other care receivers to step up to offer their assistance, volunteer to give you time to step aside, to take a break is seen as being in your best self interest.

Allowing for the freedom of persons who are involved in caretaking means a respect is given them for their being present and helpful. Giving the primary caretaker the chance to be away for a time lets them know how much they are appreciated.

Family members, neighbors, willing volunteers  allow the primary caretaker, who otherwise may feel the need to be always involved and watchful, the occasion to recognize their own need to be allowed to make the choice to step aside to recharge the batteries.

 



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