What Have You Lost and Gained in Your Caregiver Journey?January 22, 2016
Caregiver in Darien NY
Being a family caregiver for your aging parents can be one of the most rewarding and emotionally fulfilling experiences of your life. Even with all of the benefits, however, it is undeniable that
stepping into this role changes your life for now and even well after your care journey comes to an end. The beginning of the new year is the perfect time for you to evaluate your role as a caregiver and what it has done in your life. By exploring what you have lost and gained in your caregiver journey you can see how your life has changed for the better, and where you might want to make changes as you go into the year ahead so that you can ensure that you remain emotionally fulfilled, mentally healthy, and in touch with yourself throughout your care experience.
Some of the things that you may gave gained in your care journey include:
• More time with your aging parents. Take some time to consider how much time you would actually be spending with your parents at this point in your life if you were not in a care relationship with them. Many adult children spend less and less time with their parents as they get older and go into their own lives, but when you step into the role of their family caregiver you immediately start spending more time with them on a regular basis. Even if you are a distance caregiver, you are still spending more time with them through your phone calls, video chats, and visits than you likely would if you had not started caring for them.
• Insight into your loved ones. How much did you know about your parents before you started caring for them? How much do you know now? If you are like most adult children who care for their parents, you have gained much more knowledge about your parents and their lives during your care efforts than before. This is a wonderful way for you to feel like you know them more than you used to, and that you can tell your children and even grandchildren about the family members that came before them.
• Understanding about yourself. One often unexpected gain that comes with being in a care relationship with your parents is a deeper understanding of yourself and your own thoughts on life. As you watch them age, you may discover more about how you feel about aging, life sustaining measures, treatment, and arrangements for after the end of your life. This is valuable insight that will help you to plan better throughout your life.
Along with what you gain in your care journey comes losses. Some of the things that you may have lost, and what you can do to prevent these losses from impairing your quality of life, include:
• Time alone. When you start to care for your parents you have more tasks and activities to add into your schedule, which automatically cuts into the amount of time that you have to yourself. Be sure that you put aside time each week, if not each day, to be alone, relax, and take care of yourself so that you do not suffer from physical, mental, or emotional health consequences.
• Flexibility. Before being a caregiver you may have been able to change your schedule on a whim, head out on weekend getaways, or just decide you wanted to go out for the night whenever you wanted to. While this flexibility was nice, learning to structure your schedule more is easy to get accustomed to and helps you to be more productive.
• Time with others. When you are on a care journey with your parents you might not feel like you are able to participate in as many activities with friends and family such as clubs, group activities, or volunteer opportunities. Rather than giving these up completely, look for ways that you can include your loved ones in these activities, such as volunteering together or introducing them to your club.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Darien, NY, contact Star One Home Care and Medical Staffing at 718-733-2222 or 914-362-0899. Call today!
Patricia started her nursing career 19 years ago at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and research institution in New York City, and since then has gained experience in Adult Intensive Care Units (ICU) , Pediatric Care (PICU ), Operating Room (OR) , mental health and community settings. She later moved into director of nursing roles, where she obtained extensive experience in leading and developing the nursing profession. She also pioneered good partnership working with other health care organizations, as well as social services, and the wider community.