Caregiving in a Pandemic

Say that again?

Well, here is a title I never thought I would begin this journey with. Caregiving already has its own set of challenges. However, adding the chaos of the year 2020 and all of its uncertainties presents new obstacles. Firstly, I am not an expert in caregiving from a professional stand point. Like you, I am working my way through new changes in my loved ones life and finding a way to balance that.

The Norm

As caregivers we find ourselves often moving from one moment to the next to take care of our loved one. The new norm is not the burden. Our loved ones are not burdens. Caregiving is a physical act of love, much like a hug or a kiss. It nourishes our spirits. Caregiving is not all unicorns and daisy’s either, like love it is a battlefield at times (oh Pat Benatar). Don’t get me wrong, every caregiver experiences challenges that range at varying levels from expectant to entrenched. Maybe your role as caregiver is overseeing a loved ones care while they are in a facility.

An older but interesting article elaborates on that by American Senior Communities. Too clarify, caregiving is not just about caring for our aging parents and other seniors. There are those who are young and in need of the love and support of family from children to young veterans. Caregiving comes in many forms and many challenges, how we address the challenge can help us to navigate it.

Coping

There are ways to cope with your role, whether you are new to caregiving or long-serving! Finding support is paramont. Support can be found in various ways. Peer support groups are important because we can relate to each other. However, it may not be feasible to leave your home or find relief in order to attend. Online peer support groups provide great options when in-person doesn’t fit the schedule. These groups can be specific like Caregivers of Veterans, Caregivers of Parents, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Groups, and Parent Caregivers of Children as examples.

Having a plan and keeping organized is key to managing the caregiver role. Plans manage the well-being of your loved one, it helps to understand the physical and mental health needs of our loved ones. A plan helps to create good dialogue with the physician through documentation of activities, symptoms, or other issues. Finally, a good caregiving plan helps to identify your needs as a caregiver and how you are addressing them.

Eleanor Brownn has a beautiful quote “Rest and self care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

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