Sunday, June 16, 2013

Today, is not a message that we usually cover. I know a lot of people who are currently doing caregiver duties with parents or other relatives. We all seem to be at a frustrated place with this task for various reasons. When you reach this stage in life, you end up with a lot of work, which requires a lot of patience and many of us are feeling a lack of support from various areas of our lives. I am fortunate to have caregivers with my Dad who handle the day to day needs. My main issue is that he isn’t aware that he has any problems so he is fighting the need to have someone help him. He sees himself as young and independent, which is not what is taking place. A friend of mine is dealing with a parent with memory problems who is now at hospice level of care in a group home. The frustration with her is the caregivers who want to prolong her mother’s life instead of letting her leave on her mom’s terms.

Our parents will often hang on for various reasons. We can’t control that but we can ensure that they have the support that they need for whatever process they are going through. Usually, people at this stage will bond with specific caregivers or relatives who are able to help calm them down and help them work through whatever is taking place. The largest ingredient we can bring to the equation is patience. If our loved one is doing something that is driving us crazy, we have to realize that they are not doing it on purpose. If you wait it out, it will most likely shift. If they have bursts of anger, they are not because of us but because of a lack of awareness and control on the loved one’s part. So, it is important to not take anything personally. You do the best that you can to take care of their needs and help support whatever is taking place in the moment. This process also teaches you the need to be in the moment with them. You need to learn to let go of whatever stress you are feeling. Chances are the loved one is not aware of doing anything that is creating stress for you.

If you have trouble with this process, seek out support. There are many different support groups out there to help people deal with the end of life issues with loved ones. I am addressing aging parents here but it could be anyone who is dealing with illness and end of life issues with a loved one.