Things to do that make Family Caregivers’ lives easy

Did you know that there are over 6 million family caregivers in Canada? That is Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, times two! This implies that many people are performing the role of family caregivers. Over 50% of these family caregivers are themselves over the age of 45. Many of them are managing their career, their kids, along with being a caregiver. To say it is tough is an understatement. Most of these family caregivers did not receive any formal caregiving training. We applaud these people and organizations who are attempting to help and educate such caregivers. We at “All Things Seniors” are trying to do the same thing so that the caregivers become a better version of themselves to care for their loved ones.

We had the privilege of having one of the best educators with us, Debra Hallisey. Debra’s most crucial role currently is being her mother’s caregiver. The last five years have been tough for her as she took on this role after seeing her father through congestive heart failure. Debra lost her job due to caregiving issues. This made her begin her mission, “Advocate for Mom and Dad.” She educates family caregivers on the answers to the most asked questions like ‘hey, where do I start’? or ‘what do I do next?’. She answers all questions through her blogs, her book, and her work. She is trying to achieve this and also educate all the caregivers around her.

Caregivers life is not easy. You have to deal with so many other things than just the person you are caring for. When it comes to family, there is nothing you wouldn’t be willing to do for them. You take the entire responsibility from helping them physically to taking them to the doctors. It’s difficult and stressful to juggle between being a caregiver, a parent, a spouse, and a professional. So, there are few things you can do, which might make your life as a family caregiver easy and also unburdening.

Old Times

When you turn into a caregiver, you probably stop doing the thing you enjoyed doing together earlier for physical or mental reasons. And when you lose those shared interests and if you’re not careful, you can lose the bond over time. It does not necessarily have to be that way. You can always renew your relationship by doing things you’ve loved doing together like the ones which are not physically stressful. Like playing cards! Maybe your parent or grandparent used to love playing cards every Saturday when you were a kid or a teen, or you enjoyed watching baseball games with them. Start spending time together in learning or creating new things, like gardening or cooking. This will bring you both closer. Your caregiving job gets stress-free.

Don’t parent your parent.

When you start parenting your parents, you negate their lifetime of experiences and who they are and what they’ve achieved, learned, and everything they’ve cultivated over the years. This is another loss for them, along with health, mobility, and friends. So, you must come together as a team! It allows you to structure the conversation in a way that fosters teamwork. Instead of saying “you don’t,” “you shouldn’t,’ “you must,” opening a conversation with “I noticed this, I’m wondering if this would help” or “What do you think about this” and then offering a solution. This is an easy way to tackle something when you want to suggest, but don’t be pushy about it.

If you use the right language and work together as a team, you will bond in a way you could’ve never imagined. If you’re a caregiver, this transforms and grows your bond with the person you care in unimaginable ways.

Open Communication

As a caregiver, often in your love, affection, and passion for bringing a change in your loved one’s lives, you keep doing things you don’t like. It is about that “open dialogue.” Don’t impose these things on yourselves. If it becomes overwhelming or overburdening, it can get onto your nerves. So, it’s good to have that dialogue. You should try having a conversation about the things that you want to change in your caregiving relationship. It may make it more doable, and you and your parent or grandparent will always be in a comfort zone.

NO is a Full Sentence

Many times as caregivers, you are always in a frame of mind of saying yes to everything. Sometimes you can’t say no because you feel that it is your responsibility. You think you are in charge of fulfilling all the wishes and expectations of the whole family. However, sometimes you can’t. No is a full sentence, and you should say it for your sanity. You should stop and question yourself, “what can and what will and what should I do to be sane? And to be able to continue doing this for mom/dad/grandparent?” And it is alright to say No.