If you’re thinking about becoming a caregiver, there are certain tangible and intangible factors that should be carefully considered before taking on this important role. In this blog, we take a look at the intangible influences that commonly affect the relationship between a caregiver and an aging loved one. Becoming a caregiver for a loved one can sometimes trigger certain emotions and feelings, so it may be beneficial to consider the following factors.
• The Way You Communicate Might Change. If you decide become a caregiver, you may sometimes find it challenging to communicate with an aging parent. To overcome this situation, it may be helpful to put yourself in your parent’s shoes and demonstrate that you understand what your loved one is saying. Showing kindness and respect may also be vital to keeping the lines of communication open.
• You May Feel New & Different Emotions. As a caregiver, you will likely struggle to come to terms with the idea that your parent is getting old. It might be the first time you’ve admitted that your mother or father is frail and needs help; accepting that reality may be a major life event for you. You may begin to realize that your role is that of a decision maker and guardian of your parent’s best interests.
Another emotion some people sometimes experience is guilt. You may find yourself questioning your level of care and asking yourself if you’re doing enough for your parent, or worrying that you are not doing the right thing, despite your best intentions. It will be important to focus on all of the good things you are doing for your loved one.
• You May Experience Extra Stress. In some cases, you may feel a heightened level of stress, and have less time to properly take care of yourself. Stress can result in weight loss or gain. You may experience changes in eating and sleeping habits. It will be important to pay attention to your stressors and your body, and see your doctor if these problems are not manageable.
• You May Face Challenges When Dealing with Siblings. You may experience difficulties when working with your siblings to provide care for your parent due to unresolved childhood issues, financial disputes, or other reasons. You and your sibling(s) may see an intensified level of bickering and feelings of resentment towards one another. To better navigate this situation, it may be useful to schedule a family meeting and objectively assess your senior family member’s needs. You may also realize that you don’t have the level of support from your sibling(s) that you anticipated. If the stresses of this situation become unmanageable, it may be valuable to reach out to a neutral family member or friend, member of the clergy, or professional mediator who can assist in improving your quality of life.
Whether you choose to take on the role of caregiver or not is an important one. Considering the list above may help you to make the best choice that you can to keep both yourself and your aging parent happy and healthy.