Caregiving For All: March 1, 2023, Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister
Sweat the small stuff
° Give yourself credit for what you do.
You probably hear often what an angel, or loving soul you are for taking care of a loved one. We politely say thank you. Yes, you are all of those and more. You make God smile and others wonder how you do it all. Do not let these comments slide by without including a very important wish. I wish that I had the strength of an angel, and could feel my soul at peace. I realize that is not possible because God only gives you enough strength for that moment. So let go of your worries, and your soul is at peace. That is tough to do. We lack the faith to trust God will get us through each day’s new situations. We go to sleep at night believing we have done our best and we give thanks. Now it is time to find joy and happiness in your life.
° Include joy and happiness in your life.
Being a caregiver is the most difficult job I have ever done in my life. I like to laugh and make others laugh. My poor wife thinks I laugh too often, although I hear her trying to cover up a snicker a few times each day. I’m not sure that I would survive this role without using humor. Yes, I get frustrated often, but I don’t like the feeling of being down, and not under control. When we feel the pressure and start to melt down, we make mistakes. We say things we wish we hadn’t. When you give up, and doubts start to creep in, you are at the end of your rope. Find joy and laughter. Watch a funny movie; have coffee (or beer for me) with some friends; and do something you enjoy that brings satisfaction. Lastly, journal about your experiences. Buy a notebook, and try to write in it every two days. You will find that it gives you a release from your frustrations when you write down what is happening. You can see patterns about both you and your patient that could be helpful in their care. If you continue to struggle, seek help. Your care receiver needs you, and so do others in your life. You are the sunshine on a cloudy day. For me joking and laughing make a difference.
Here are some of the best traits that every caregiver should have:
- Patience: Those who provide home care to others need to be patient. When I feel I’m starting to lose it, and I’m about to say something I shouldn’t, I zip my mouth shut, smile, and thank God. This is a great release for me. Sometimes my wife sees me do this and smiles. She understands.
- Compassion: When someone has compassion for another they have an understanding of what the person is going through. Be a person of compassion. Have a heart that opens for others. Practice compassion with all. Let them see what compassion looks like so they understand how to share when the time arises.
- Attentiveness: It is easy to get distracted in the business of a caregiver. Try to be tuned in not only to the person receiving your care but also yourself. You have to protect yourself just as much as you do your loved one. DO NOT feel guilty if your patient criticizes you. Listen and acknowledge their concerns, then evaluate what you need to do.
- Dependability: Your plate is overfilled. You don’t use a plate, but rather the whole table. There is so much for you to do. Ask for help. Be organized, but ask for help. Be a manager, not the whole team.
- Trustworthiness: This is important because you are dealing with a vulnerable person. You need the support of the whole caring team. Journaling is very helpful.
What is the golden rule in caregiving? Any ideas?
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