As a former family caregiver, observing the inevitable changes a family goes through as their loved one’s health declines can be painful on so many levels.
What if, why, wait….how soon? The unknowns are landmines so being unprepared can often throw your life into a spin cycle. Many people don’t foresee this coming or say to themselves surely it won’t get that bad. It’s all relative; it’s all change. School educated us about science, math, etc. and we should have had the opportunity to learn about death and the changes/circumstances that occur when your loved one’s health is on the decline.
Life and death happen, period. Having a knowledge base or a point of reference to be able to help you navigate an uncharted course would be a lifesaver. Something I wish I had and have heard from so many of you that you did as well.
One thing that I urge people to do as they go through days of Family Caregiving is to keep track of various events or information to reduce the stress of ….”where did I put that?” or “…what did they say?”. The “One Moment at a Time” journal that is available on our website is an excellent tool to keep everything in one place. Not only vital information but also important notes and a journal for your thoughts. Did your Mom mention how much she enjoyed the cotton pj’s she once had? Did your loved one talk about a memory you had never heard before? Or was it in their final days that they talked about what they were experiencing or things they wanted you to hear before they passed. All of these can get scrambled in your mind so having a place to record them is invaluable.
Having connections to and hearing other family caregivers stories can also be invaluable. The ability to interact with a group of people that have or are walking the same path as you can provide insight and support that can change your life. Being able to discuss, listen, scream or cry can be a breath of air that you’ve needed among others that get it. The Breathing Spaces Facebook page allows you to reach out to others now and begin making those connections.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t feel you need to do it alone. Reach out, find resources and remember to B-R-E-A-T-H-E.