Did you recently discover that you’ll need to become a caregiver for a loved one? The sudden change can be challenging to accept, mainly because of how much it will transform both your lives. Caregiving is challenging personally and professionally, and the applause doesn’t change that reality.
I understand that you want to get on with the role and spend less time thinking, but it is always better to be emotionally prepared for what is to come. Therefore, I have written this blog to help you come to terms with the circumstances and know what to expect.
What to Expect as a Caregiver
You may have already seen caregiving in action at some point, but it is easy to miss out on several details in such a situation. Following are some tips about what to expect once you become a caregiver.
1. It Is an Emotional Rollercoaster
Please don’t feel bad about the emotional turmoil you are experiencing; it is normal. Your loved one is in a situation where they need caregiving, and your life will be changing significantly from this point onwards.
Both situations are emotionally stressful, and caregiving itself will be more so. Hence, you will feel overwhelmed from time to time. It is critical to keep this in mind and take breaks to care for your mental health.
2. You’ll Need to Reorganize your Priorities.
Caregiving will take up a significant part of your time, so you will need to reorganize your priorities. People often struggle to balance their career and self-care with caregiving, so it is best to plan at the earliest stages.
You may need to slow down at work but make it a point not to neglect it. Similarly, practice self-care regularly to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. Your social life and friendships might need to take a back seat for some time, but try to ensure you don’t neglect yourself.
3. You’ll Learn Every Day.
You will need to learn everything about your loved one’s condition to care for them, but the learning won’t stop at the early stages. You’ll learn something new every day because there are always differences in how a condition affects an individual.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to care communities because their knowledge and experience will be invaluable for you.
4. System Inefficiencies Will Be Frustrating.
You will often be interacting with healthcare and governmental institutions, and the inefficiencies on their end will be frustrating. Unfortunately, these inefficiencies are systematic, and some will continue to be a hindrance.
You’ll need to be patient and power through the situation.
5. Your Loved One Won’t Always Cooperate.
Lastly, your loved one may not always cooperate with you, and that is something for which you’ll need to be prepared. Some have terminal conditions, and their health will worsen as time passes. The situation is extremely frustrating and painful for them, so their outbursts are understandable.
Be patient and empathetic, and try to communicate as much as possible to help them feel better.
Overall, caregiving will be a complex new experience for you, but knowing what to expect will prepare you for what’s to come. I have detailed my experience with caregiving in my book, so you can read it to learn more about the topic.