My 21-month caregiving ended a couple of months ago when my mother passed away. Since that time, I have thought about ways I could have done things better or been more prepared for the role I took on. I hope this is helpful.
- Never make the person you’re caring for your entire world. You have a life that’s beautiful and it’s separate from theirs.
Share the responsibilities of caregiving. Depending on the situation, it may be too much for you – or any one person – to handle.
Find a friend, confidant and preferably another caregiver that you can share with. On days when things get rough, it’s good to have someone who understands.
Don’t be afraid to step away when the situation becomes overwhelming. Listen to music, take a walk or do something relaxing to ease your mind. In these situations, I have found prayer invaluable.
Be honest with your feelings of sadness, disappointment, fear, anger or frustration and deal with them appropriately. Finding a therapist may be a good option.
Take care of your health. Make it a daily priority to do things that are healthy for your body, mind and spirit. Do not jeopardize your health in your role as caregiver.
Accept the fact that you are limited in your ability to take away someone else’s pain or to heal them. Although you can assist (as can health care professionals, medications, surgeries, etc.), true healing belongs to God. As painful as it is, you may have to accept that your loved one may never be healed.
Realize that if your loved one’s health diminishes, more may be required of you. But never let it get to the point when it drains you physically or emotionally.
Take time for yourself. Make a list of things that bring you joy and make sure to do 3 of those things per day. Do them without guilt or shame.
Don’t carry the burden of your loved one’s illness. Do all you can to make things better for them, but don’t let it diminish the quality of your life.
Accept the fact that illness can change a person’s personality. Although some of what you may experience is not directed at you personally, don’t stay in a situation where you are a victim of emotional or physical abuse.
Know that one day your caregiving will end. Plan your life (after caregiving) prior to that time. Don’t become so consumed with their present that you neglect your future; you will have a future. Prepare yourself physically, emotionally and financially and refrain from becoming entirely dependent on the one you are providing the caregiving to.
Make sure that you enjoy the blessing of life.
Andrea René Williams was born for music. Whether it’s as a vocalist, a pianist, a songwriter, a composer, a former GRAMMY Awards Manager, an Award-nominated Gospel Celebrity Publicist, a Summa Cum Laude Graduate from Berklee College of Music, or an Award-Winning Recording Artist, she always has a passion for inspiring people through music.