The challenges of living with and caring for an aging family member can be extremely stressful. Trust me, the stress is felt by both the caregiver and the receiver of care. You must remember that as difficult as it is to give care to someone, it is often equally difficult for those who receive care as well. The loss of control in their lives can be very, very difficult. Loved ones certainly would like to be able to read their own mail, sign their own checks, and take themselves to the doctor! Even when care is given with great kindness, it can still be difficult to accept gracefully. Our loved ones may feel like they are a burden on us or that they are causing us stress. They most certainly, at the very least, may be uncomfortable in their situation. And with the uncomfortableness may come an attitude of unpleasantness or frustration. Even above the medical issues, time issues and money issues, it is often the emotional issues that cause the greatest stress. We need to recognize this fact.
What you really need to do is to empathize - all the time. An article by Glenn Braunstein M.D. on The Huffington Post points out that "the number of adults taking care of aging parents has tripled in the past 15 years and a full 25% of grown children are helping their parents by providing either personal care or financial assistance."
Certainly the act of taking care of our loved ones is a burden, even if we willingly accept that burden and provide care and support with complete kindness. Certainly we will potentially become frustrated. Also, without a doubt, stresses from our own life will mix with those brought on by the caregiving and cause even greater strain on us all. Dr. Braunstein offers some great suggestions to keep the caregivers healthy and happy. But what about those receiving our care? This is where the need for extreme empathy comes in.
Dr. Braunstein states clearly in the article that we need to "remember that, at the other end of life's spectrum", our loved ones "were practicing patience and empathy when you cried inconsolably through long nights of infancy."
So as you read the article, think again about your own loved ones. A little dose of empathy can most certainly go a very long way!
For more information about Elder Care for your loved ones, please contact The Dorjath Law Center.