My role is changing.
Who are you?
You’ve been caring for a period of time and now can sense the end.
Your Keyword: Allow
–Allow time to mourn and grieve;
–Allow remembrances to remain;
–Allow reflections of your experiences.
To stop the “doing” of caregiving and focus on the “being.” You’re used to doing and going. Now, it’s time to simply be with your caree.
To walk with your caree during his last months and weeks, implementing his or her decisions about end-of-life care that you both discussed during Stage 1 (or as soon as you could). As you both feel the journey end, this is also a time to mourn and grief. And, this stage is about loving and feeling good about the shared journey. You also will begin to question and worry about the next chapter in your life.
As a “transitioning caregiver,” what can you do?
1. Use your best judgment as to when you take breaks.
You now have a limited amount of time to spend with your caree. Trust your gut and spend as much time as feels right for you. When others encourage you to take a break and you know it’s not the right time, let them know: “Time with my caree is my priority. I appreciate your concern. I’m okay.”
2. Allow yourself time to mourn and grieve.
You are experiencing tremendous losses. You’ll feel it.
3. Remember your caree.
You don’t have to give away clothes or remove pictures–until you want to. When family and friends seem hesitant to talk about your caree (they worry they will upset you), assure them that sharing memories, laughs and stories brings you great comfort.
4. Reflect back on your caregiving responsibilities and decisions with pride.
Find comfort in knowing that you did the best you could.
5. Review your journal.
How are you different today than you were on the day you first started writing in your journal? How will you use this experience to enhance your future relationships?
6. An apple a day…
What’s your apple in this stage? You may feel that an apple in this stage is unnecessary. Take an apple. It’s what keeps you feeling like you.
7. After Giving
Please join us at AfterGiving.com to share and connect with other former family caregivers adjusting to a life after caregiving.
The Caregiving Years handbook
The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey, helps you answer the questions: Why me? Why now? What now? With the handbook, you’ll find your way throughout your entire experience of caregiving. Buy here.
In Take Comfort and Take Comfort, Too, Denise takes a word, applies it to your caregiving situation, and then offers a reflection of hope. With each comfort, you’ll feel validated and understood. Buy here.
Note: I have provided The Caregiving Years to be used strictly as a guide. All situations vary. I encourage you to always consult your health care professionals to discuss your individual situation and the best course of action for you and your caree.