The Miracle of Caregiving! Part 2.
Understanding the situation.
In Part one we looked at how we arrived at where we are in this role of caregiving. Now we look at the situation itself in an attempt to understand it more fully.
It is difficult to be of any use if we do not first learn to understand why we have to do what we do. Whether we are here by choice or not, the result is the same. We all deal with the same issues. We need to find out as much as we can to do the job as best we can. It may sound simple but it is critical that we understand both sides of the coin.
We are on one side of the coin but your spouse or parent for whom you care is on the other side. Think about this. They didn’t ask to be where they are. It certainly is not their fault that they are now in need of care. They don’t want to be like it. In fact they don’t like it. They probably hate it. They would rather be independent like everyone else.
How they would love to still dress themselves and cook the dinner. They would prefer to have the ability to do the laundry and iron the clothes, even if there were times earlier in life when those were not their most favorite tasks. Now they feel like a burden, a nuisance, an inconvenience to all around.
To fully understand we need to get into the mind of those receiving care. We need to feel their sense of helplessness. The last thing they want is to be dependent upon others. They desperately need our kindness and understanding.
For our side of the coin it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by taking on this task or having been landed with this job. But to do the job right we really need to understand both sides. On one side there are tremendous needs and on the other side a responsibility to meet those needs.
A good place to start is to understand the disease you are dealing with. I don’t believe that you can have too much knowledge as to how it might play out over the months and possibly years ahead. I read a 500 page tome on Parkinson’s but for some people that may be a little over the top. It certainly helped me to understand the disease, what to expect and what to look for.
By learning about the illness you are not surprised along the way and accept what you see for what it is. You can also be an emotional support when the person cared for becomes disturbed by new symptoms. Find out what the medicine is supposed to be doing and how best it can and should be administered. The more you know about the disability the better you can handle it. You can then operate from a position of knowledge. Your communication with medical personnel is also helped by your understanding.
Take time to discover the physical and emotional suffering of the person receiving care. It will pay dividends regarding your ability to understand and respond to them. Listen intently to what they say and how they say it. Respect their thinking. It is they who are experiencing the disability. We can never learn too much about the situation but the more we know the more effective we will be in our caring.