When I think about how difficult it must be to be a family caregiver right now, my heart breaks for you. It really does.
When I think about being separated from a loved one who might be in a care facility, assisted living that you’re not able to go visit. I just can’t even imagine how hard that is.
I just want to tell you, I see you, I understand the heartbreak that you have right now, and I just want to encourage you, I want to give you hope and encouragement that this is not forever. You’re going to make it through this.
The thought of being separated. it just really just breaks my heart. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to want to be there, to offer a hug of comfort, to want to be able to just sit and hold hands, to just reminisce and do what you’ve always done together during your visits.
For those of you who are facing transitioning, end of life times with your loved one right now. I just can’t even imagine and have no words but they know you love them.
For the professional caregivers that are loving our loved ones in place of us right now. We’re so thankful. We’re so grateful that you get the magnitude of how hard this is for families to be kept apart.
For you caregivers who have loved ones in your home and are concerned about bringing this virus home. I see you. I understand how hard this is to know what the right thing to do is for your family.
I’m am so sorry we find ourselves in this place. I know it’s hard. I really do.
I love seeing the pictures of people visiting through the windows and the video chats that are happening. It makes my heart happy to see that there are ways to communicate and to reach out, but I also know that not every family has that opportunity. Not every loved one can use those devices.
As we are feeling this uncertainty, we know our loved ones have to be feeling it as well. They might not understand what’s happening, but they feel our stress. I know that this is hard on all of you, and I just want to say, I’m sorry.
I’m here for you, to support you and to listen, to encourage and to offer hope. There’s many good things happening in this world today in the midst of all of the crazy, the love and the supports that others are giving each other warms our hearts. And I hope that you are finding the help that you need in this season as a caregiver.
I have three simple little tips I just thought I would offer in this unique season.
1. The first one is to know and understand that fear actually is normal.
In fact, we are hardwired to have fear. It is a part of our DNA. Fear was created and designed to protect us. It kicks in when there are feelings of uncertainty. It’s normal. It’s a normal reaction to all of the crazy in this world.
The key is that there can be normal fear, which moves us into action to protect ourselves, and then there can be fear that’s paralyzing and a paralyzing fear doesn’t benefit us. It really isn’t what fear is designed for. Fear is designed to kick us into action, to do what we need to do to survive.
So if you find yourself experiencing that paralyzing fear, I want you to stop and ask yourself a few questions. What exactly are you afraid of? Nail it down. Write it down if you need, stop and consider what exactly is causing me to be so afraid.
Once you’ve identified that, then I want you to ask yourself, how likely is this to happen? Oftentimes paralyzing fear actually comes from made up stories in our head. It comes from us playing out scenarios that really are not likely to happen.
Is this virus real? Definitely. Is your loved one in a compromised state, and so at bigger risk of getting this virus than you? Definitely. I’m not saying that this isn’t true. I’m just saying that sometimes the stories we tell ourselves because of the situations we find ourselves in become untrue and they cause the paralyzing fear.
Once you’ve identified exactly what it is you’re afraid of and how likely it is to happen, then what’s the next step you can take to change the odds? How can you increase the odds in your favor of not letting this happen? The CDC has shared steps to take to keep your family as safe as possible. Do it. Take action today. Do the things that we’re being told to do to keep you and your loved one safe. That action will help to quiet your fears.
If your fears are paralyzing and unrealistic, put them aside. Find the things you can do now that can help you to protect yourself and your loved one.
2. Limit your media intake.
Right now, watching the news is overwhelming for everyone, much less for a caregiver who knows that their loved one has more risks than others. Take the time to set an alarm, turn off the news and turn it back on when the alarm goes off. Spend 15 minutes catch up on what you missed and then turn it off again. Limit your intake there is not enough happening for us to spend hours watching the news talk about the same thing over and over again which creates more fear within us.
Spend some time doing things that bring joy. We can have joy in the midst of this time? We don’t have to spend our time watching the news in fear of what’s happening.
Stay connected. Stay educated in what’s current and most important for you to know right now, but don’t spend your time to dwelling on what’s happening around the world and those things which you cannot impact. So set those alarms, watch the news in small pieces and find other things to do.
When I was caring for my dad, I noticed that when he just watched the evening news, he would get agitated. I would notice him paying close attention to what was happening on the news and of course it wasn’t good news. It was all things that were sad and destructive and difficult to hear. And Dad, he had no way of impacting those things. So how was it beneficial for him to see what was happening? So as his caregiver, I wanted to keep him happy and healthy as possible and seeing what was happening in the world today was not falling within that guideline.
So I ask our other caregivers, please give him the newspaper only the sports section, only or the funnies. Just the things that would keep him encouraged and engaged, but not the things that he would sit and try to think about and problem solve and process and understand how the world could be as it is today.
So consider your loved one. How is your loved one doing with the media and hearing all of these things that are happening in the world today? Is it helpful for them to hear and see and be bombarded with all of this information? I would imagine you would agree with me. It’s really not. So change the channel.Engage them in something else right here and now. Turn on some music, laugh, dance. Be silly. Work a puzzle. Do something to engage them in the moment and not in the media.
3. Stay connected.
As a family caregiver, your life is pretty isolating as it is. In fact, what’s going on in the world outside your walls might not be impacting your schedule that much at all.
I’m hearing over and over again on online support groups, I’ve been isolated for the last 5 years, or I’ve been locked down for the last seven years. That isolation compared to many people who go to work and do things outside of the home every day.
But remember that sometimes being told you can’t leave, but it’s a whole different ballgame. I want to encourage you, if you’re feeling even more isolated or if you’re feeling a lot of paralyzing fear or concern, or just overwhelm with everything that’s happening in this world today reach out, reach out for support.
Make the phone call. Remember, your friends might not be at work like usual. There might be some free time for people because they are at home and not as busy as usual. So reach out and just talk it through. Having someone that can listen and offer encouragement and just be there for you really can make a big difference.
Get connected- I would love to be someone that you connect with if you are needing someone to talk to. I’ve created a special webpage @ aseasonofcaring.com/let’stalk. And on that page you can find a calendar where you can schedule 30 minutes for us to visit and just have a little coaching session. Honestly, coaching is about hearing your heart and letting your own voice be heard and the opportunity for us just to listen for me to listen to you and your concerns and encourage your hearts. I would be honored. I would be honored if you would just give me an opportunity to do that with you today.
I am also teaming up with Nourish for Caregivers to host FREE online support groups daily for a limited time. Check out www.NourishforCaregivers.com to learn more about the time and location of these meetings.
I hope you have found these 3 Tips for This Unique time helpful. Together we will make it through this crazy time!