By Denise M. Brown, Founder of Caregiving.com
When you expect a child, the community (your family, friends, coworkers) rallies 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, one on the other end of the spectrum. When you care for a family member or friend, spending the last years together as caregiver and caree, you might feel isolated from the community. Friends, coworkers, even other relatives may say about your caregiving responsibilities: “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, 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.
That’s 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. Because no journey is completed without wrong turns, unexpected delays and unplanned crises (we’ll call these “stumbles”), our map also includes ways to “steady” these stumbles.
Separated into six stages, The Caregiving Years reflects the increasing intensity of the caregiving role. Within each stage, you’ll find a keyword. As you move through the stages, you’ll add more keywords which also become your coping strategies. These six keywords become your go-to actions during times of stress, worry and frustration.
By having information about your role as family caregiver, as well as understanding the information needed and actions to take, you can spend more time making this experience meaningful for your caree, your family and yourself.
~ Our The Caregiving Years Tools, released with our eighth edition of The Caregiving Years handbook, help you find the answers and solutions right for you. Purchase The Caregiving Years PDF version to complement the tools. You also can purchase the paperback on Amazon by clicking below.
~ Your Tip Sheet: The Caregiving Years, Six Stages
~ Your Tip Sheet: The Caregiving Years, Your Steadies to Continue through The Caregiving Years