Mary Cordova, EVP of Business Development at Concierge Care Advisors
Are you a spouse, adult child, or family member changing roles from family member to CAREGIVER for a loved one, and feeling inadequate?
Be assured, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Currently, with the changes caused by the Corona Virus, even young energetic moms and dads have changed their roles to art, science, music, math, and P.E. teachers. Many are feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, and alone and depressed, in addition to all the other responsibilities that come along with educating and raising their children. Parents were thrown into these roles with little preparation or training. Suddenly, they were expected to fill all these roles.
They were meant to be MOMS and DADS. If you have felt this way recently, relax, and take a deep breath. You are still mom and dad and your children depend on you for guidance and love. If you are caring for a parent or loved one, you may have similar feelings as young moms and dads, and you know how overwhelming it can feel. Again, you are not alone.
Becoming a caregiver to a senior can be sudden and fast, and without proper preparation or training on how to help an aging senior thrive. Often there is memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other difficult diagnoses that are exceedingly difficult to care for without education and training. If you are trying to maintain love, honor, and compassion in every moment of your day, without preparation, it can be emotionally and physically exhausting to love our vulnerable seniors with these challenging diagnoses.
You may have a loved one that you made a promise to thirty to fifty years ago to keep them at home. No one knew seniors would have a much longer life expectancy now, or that it would cost more than twenty thousand dollars per month to have someone stay at home. (As a caregiver, you did not know you were worth so much, right)?
Hopefully, this will give you the peace to know that you did the best you could do to take care of your loved one, for as long as you could. In most cases, much longer than your friends and families would have ever wanted you to. You have given up your life to keep a promise, not knowing the best outcome may be a transition to an adult family home or assisted living or a retirement community.
With some illnesses, seniors might not even recognize their spouse or children anymore. A loved one may confuse you with another of their friends or relatives, calling you by your cousin’s name. Just know you have done and are doing the best that you know how. You may want to ask yourself:
- Would my loved one want me to be their caregiver, or their daughter, son, or spouse again?
- Would it be better if I am a loving, attentive family member that is well-rested and ready to be engaged with their loved one?
Pass your role as caregiver to trained professionals in a properly prepared environment. Trained caregivers that are honored to hear a senior ask a hundred times an hour, where is my room or my mother?
From my experience working in the senior industry for over twenty years, the care staff is what makes our seniors thrive. These loving individuals are like angels on earth. The stories of compassion we hear on a daily basis bring tears to your eyes. I have met wonderful caregivers from all over our world that bring their cultural familial generosity and come together to love what has been referred to as our greatest generation.
If you are making a transition during the COVID pandemic, you may be dealing with your own guilt at this most difficult time. Especially with visitation restrictions. If you have chosen to change your role from caregiver back to a family member, I hope you look back in thirty days when you are better rested and realize that your loved one’s quality of life has improved, as yours will as well.
A lot of family caregivers may have put their lives on hold, lost their own home, gone through a divorce, or perhaps missed their own children’s important years because you always promised your loved one they would never have to move. If someone asked your loved one forty years ago, “would you want your adult kids giving up their lives to keep you home?” Or, “Would you want to spend twenty thousand dollars a month to get around the clock care to keep you at home?” Do you think that they would want you to sacrifice so much for them?
I certainly do not know your loved one, although after all my years working with seniors, what I do know is that most seniors and their families both agree the transition should have been done sooner. We often see a senior thrive a month or two after a transition. So, sometimes adult children need to make decisions for their loved ones and not always with them. Especially, with love and intentions only for the best outcome for the senior and their families. We are here to “Hold your hand through the whole process.”
Resource Page: Conquering the Effects of Covid-19 Isolation & Depression