This month has been an interesting one. My family and I took care of a family member for a month. She has been having some health issues so she came to stay with us. It was definitely a change for everyone involved. Especially her.
- Routine: I developed a routine so that she could know exactly what would happen through out the day.
- Communicated: I communicated with her if there were going to be any changes or because sometimes she would forget I was home I would pop in or sit with her ever so often. I also let her know what part of the house I would be in.
- Yes/no: If I said no to something that she couldn’t have I followed up with a good alternative to something she could have.
- Included her: I made sure she felt included in what was going on in her life. Sometimes people would just make decisions for her and wouldn’t ask her opinion so I would try to do different.
- Patience: I made sure I had more patience. When I found myself getting frustrated I would walk away.
- Respect: I just gave her respect. Although I now had to help her with some things I made sure she felt respected.
Caring for this loved one for a month made me think about the people who do this every day. They meet some of those same challenges. I really appreciate caregivers so much more now than I did before. Taking care of adults is harder than taking care of kids. Because in most cases now you are taking care of a person who has had a taste of freedom. They were eating what they want, going where they wanted, and doing what they wanted. Now they are having to accept that they can’t do those things anymore. Some don’t even have family to help them out.
I was glad to have an opportunity to be there for my family member. Now she is with people better equipped to take care of her. When we looked for a place to take her we took our time to make sure we were leaving her in great care. That those people would treat her like family because she deserves it. In fact I think being her caregivers allowed us to find her a better home that suited her because we knew her needs. I also feel like taking care of her helped me to show how much I appreciate her and that she knows I love her.
I write all this to say please thank the people who take care of those closes to you. Also if you are taking care of a family member please be compassionate and remember they have feelings as well. I remember being told by this family member that she felt like a burden. I told her you aren’t a burden to us at all. We want to help you in anyway we can. I tried to let her know that she definitely wasn’t one to me. She is so used to taking care of everyone else that it is hard for her to be helped. So I tried to let her know that I didn’t see her that way at all.
She did so much for me. She became my company for those few weeks. Usually I’m at home by myself. But I appreciated her company. She will never know how much I appreciated that. I will listen to her talk and she would listen to me. I found it very therapeutic. She really did do as much for me as I did for her. She has helped my family so much over the years. It was an honor to be able to help her. Even when that meant find a place that was better suited to her needs. I can’t wait to see how she is doing in this place.
If I had to do it all again I think I would totally do it again. Not because I loved it but because I know I am needed. Also I would want the same for myself. You have to have an open heart to be someone’s caregiver. Have you ever been a caregiver to someone? What was your experience?