Comforting and nurturing a sick loved one is not an easy task. Yet, caring for a loved one helps us release some of the pain we are feeling as a result of their illness. It gives us a way to outwardly express the love that’s in our hearts.
However, there’s a fine line between caring for a loved one and depleting yourself. When you become completely involved, you may pay the price physically and psychologically. Many family caregivers gain or lose extreme amounts of weight, tend to get sick themselves, or suffer from anxiety and depression. Remember if you push yourself too far, you may be unable to meet the rest of life’s demands. That’s why it’s so important for you to think carefully before accepting the full responsibility of being a caregiver, especially if you have children or a family of your own.
Before you make more of a commitment than you can handle, speak to other caregivers to fully comprehend what will be required. Review the expectations with your loved one and his or her doctor. Discuss everything openly and truthfully with your family and do community research. Find relevant and helpful services available in your area.
If you decide to take on the responsibility, speak with other family caregivers who are dealing with a similar disease or illness in order to prepare your home. This will help you to know what you need to purchase or rent, determine where you can get the best durable medical equipment (like walkers, hospital beds, and shower chairs), and will also allow you to share coping tips.
Caring for a loved one can be hard because your loved one may not act like they always have. And they may never show the appreciation you deserve. It can sometimes feel like a thankless job, but that’s not to say it is not without its rewards. You just need to enter into the commitment with your eyes wide open.
Of course you want to be there for your loved one, but give careful consideration as to whether you and your family can handle such a responsibility. And don’t put off your own doctor’s appointments because you’re too busy caring for them. Often, a spouse or adult child will end up with cancer or heart problems found right after their loved one dies. The reason is they put off their own regular check-ups and let their own health suffer while putting their loved one’s needs above their own. Take care of yourself so you can help your loved one.