Friday, August 3, 2007

The Care Receiver: How To Walk A Mile In Their Shoes

Caregiving is one of the most demanding roles
anyone can undertake. If you are performing as
caregiver now or you know you will be in the near
future, there are some techniques you may find

Whether you are caregiver to an aging parent,
spouse, sibling or any loved one, many emotions
will be the same.

Frustration and anger will rear up its ugly persona.
Even if you think you are as good-natured as they
come, think again.

This is natural. Don't let the guilt of these emotions
overwhelm you when they happen. Just keep
saying over and over, "I'm not a bad person.
This is normal. I'll get through it."

My mother depended on me for many years. She
was caregiver to my father for many years so I got
to see first hand what I would be doing in the future.

At first it was more psychological dependence. In the
last year of her life, she was like my little child.

Mom resided with me for more years than I care to
admit. Maybe I've actually forgotten. As you may
know, living with someone is a whole lot different
than caregiving at a distance.

Add to that the mother-daughter dynamics and you
are sitting on the proverbial powder keg at times.

We went from me getting her fixed up to go out
when she was mobile to informing her the time had
come for the adult diapers.

Emotions ranged from envy. (She looked better than
me when out socializing! Heck, there wasn't time
left over for me to primp.)

To anger. At her. At myself. At life. Then back to
sadness and depression. For the both of us.

In the final years, I'd finally figured it out. Duh!
Whatever negative emotion I was feeling, I'd
take a deep breath. Yes, it really does work.

As I looked at my mother, I'd remember the pictures
of her taken as a child and young woman. And, I'd
simply put myself in her shoes.

This woman once skipped across the hayfield. Played
with her siblings. Giggled at silly things.

She grew up. Married. Was a dedicated wife. Adopted
me. And put up with my teenage years. Sure, we had
problems. I've never known a family without dysfunction.

Then I'd look at this little old lady and see her soul.
Her aged body turned against her but her soul
was still that of the newborn baby brought into this
world where she endured many difficult years.

I know it's hard. There are times you think your
aging parent will send you off the deep end. But, stop
and remember them. The way they were.

They did not want this. My Mom used to say,
"Oh, to be 70 again!" When I would cringe when
"wiping her bottom", I'd remember the hard-working,
energetic woman who always took care of others.

Try that experiment when your emotions are doing you in.
I know it's easy for me to say. Now. Mom died last year.

And I miss her terribly. I want to hug her again.

Go hug your aging parent. And remember the good times...

This may be of interest and assistance to you...