Monday, August 30, 2010

Notes To Caregivers

There are many people providing care to loved ones who do not have a complete understanding of the term Caregiver, and what the process entails before reaching that state that can be truly called Caregiver(ing).

The starting point is the most difficult, you have learned that the person you love has some sort of debilitating affliction which will lead to complete dependence right up to death and you are going to have to take care of him/her. Perhaps for the first time you will experience grief which is the emotional suffering felt after some kind of loss. You realize that slowly you are losing your loved one and the life you have known together. You are entering a new kind of existence, a deep hole from which the only escape is death. You will probably go through the five stages of grief before you can truly deal with your new life. They are:

 1. Denial
2.Anger
       3.Bargaining
         4.Depression 
         5.Acceptance

Of course it looks so nice and neat when it is listed but the stages can get mixed up a bit and experienced all at the same time but until you finally accept the situation as it is truly you can't move on to be a successful Caregiver. A successful Caregiver is truly a selfless role as it requires you to do everything for the benefit of the person who needs you. Easier said than done. If the illness or resultant incapacity is for a very long time one may slip back into one of the five stages listed above. The hardest thing for a Caregiver to come to grips with is that the ill person really can't change as the illness deepens and if there are any changes to be made the Caregiver must be the one to make them. A person with Parkinson's disease because of the medication such as L Dopa which affects the brain may not be able to resist the feelings of paranoia, may resist the taking of new medication or new approaches and the Caregiver may become angry feeling he/she is not acting rationally and is refusing to help themselves. The Caregiver must change, control the anger and be prepared to do whatever necessary to help the helpless since the Caregiver is the only one who has the ability to change, in this case controlling anger and providing compassion.

The giver of care must be aware that they have to take care of themselves, if they get sick then there is no-one who will be there for the one who needs help. At times this becomes very difficult. The Caregiver starts to feel as though they are losing their lives and then tries to seek some sort of escape, maybe even an extra marital affair seeking refuge in removing themselves from the situation even if for a few hours at a time.

Care giving is a difficult vocation and must be completely selfless which means that taking care of yourself  is for the benefit of the one who is ill not to provide you with an escape.

Care giving is an awesome trial and should be undertaken with love and compassion. Those who can afford help should not hold back the financial resources but can provide the love and compassion by being there for the one who is helpless. Giving care to ones who we love is the closest we can come to giving love to God himself and for those who do not believe, the highest power of nature is satisfied through this action.
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