When you expect a child, the community (your family, friends, co-workers) rally around you and your spouse. When you expect your first child, you receive gifts, well wishes and the encouragement that you are entering a wonderful, albeit challenging, chapter in your life. As you prepare to welcome your child, you feel pride at the thought of your role as parent: How you will shape the mind of a youngster, impacting him or her with your wisdom, insights and knowledge.
Now think about a similar life experience, just one on the other end of the spectrum. An aging relative, a spouse, a parent, a grandparent, needs your help. And, you want to help–you believe in making the most of the years you have left together. But, when you tell your friends, your colleagues, even other family members, the comments you may hear are a far cry from well-wishes. “I could never do that! Why do you?” Or, the more common response: “Why don’t you just put your mother (or your wife, or your grandfather) in a nursing home? That way you won’t be so stressed out.”
With support like that, no wonder you might find yourself fighting self-doubts during your caregiving journey, asking yourself, “Why me? Why am I the one to do this?” These self-doubts can erode your ability to handle your caregiving responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Even worse, these self-doubts cloud your ability to understand how important this caregiving journey is–to your caree, your family, yourself.
Which is why I’ve developed The Caregiving Years: Six Stages To A Meaningful Experience. Much like books for expecting parents, The Caregiving Years describes what to expect throughout the journey. By having information about your role as caregiver–you understand what information to gather and the actions to take–you can spend more time making this experience meaningful, for your caree, your family, yourself.
The Caregiving Years is separated into six stages; you’ll find a keyword, purpose and action plan for each stage. Your caree’s illness and diagnosis will determine how quickly or slowly you pass through the stages. While the length of time spent in each stage may differ for each family caregiver, the emotions and experiences will be similar.
~ Your Tip Sheet: The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey
~ Your Tip Sheet: Your Steadies to Continue through The Caregiving Years