Saturday, March 15, 2014

My words of advice...

We all make the decision to become a caretaker for different reasons-  love, compassion, responsibility, obligation, finances-  or simply because there is no one else.  My reasons are probably a combination of all of those and a few more.  But, the why of it all isn't important.  It doesn't matter how we got here.  We are here.  And, I know that most people who know a caregiver would love to help, if they only knew how.  I have some suggestions on how to help.  I am not speaking for anyone but me.  Other caregivers may or may not feel this way.

-Please do not tell me how to care for my loved one.  I appreciate suggestions, or "have you tried..."  But, when you tell me the right way to do something, or start your advice with "You need to..." or "You should...", I am hearing that you have been here every day with me and know what I have tried and haven't tried.  I also hear that I am not good enough.   When I hear a suggestion, I hear that you are not questioning my care...  you are supporting me and helping me to be a better caregiver.

-Please encourage me to share my feelings.  And remind me that my feelings are normal.

-If you don't want me to talk about my situation, then please don't ask.  I know it gets old  hearing the negativity about it.  But, there isn't a part of my life that this does not effect. Please realize that this situation, and the incredible responsibility of it, is always at the top of my mind

-Please, please, don't call me a hero.  Or a saint.  I'm not.  The horrible things that come out of my mouth daily are not words from a saint or a hero. They shame me.  I do not feel worthy of the praise.

-Most of the articles and blogs that I have read suggest that stepping in for a caregiver so that they can get out for a few hours would be the greatest help.  For me, it wouldn't.  And I would never accept.  I would appreciate and cherish the offer, but I would be so worried about YOU, that I would never enjoy my time.  And, I guarantee that you wouldn't enjoy yours either.

-The best thing that you can do to help is something that most of you already do... you are here supporting me and reminding me that I am not alone.  And that help is truly and deeply appreciated.

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