Don’t Care for Me – Part 1

18 May

Caregiving is such a challenge. Most of us aren’t trained in how to do it and yet we are called upon to be caregivers — sometimes for someone recovering from an accident or illness or perhaps for an elderly parent.

We want to offer a helping hand, yet often we are met with resistance to care. Why is that?

This two-part series will delve into what I have learned about the delicate balance between promoting cooperation with someone you are caring despite his/her resistance.

The first and foremost lesson is to WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES.

Think about it. If someone needs care, it means that they are experiencing some kind of loss – a physical or mental one – which in turn results in a loss of independence.

a nurse and an old woman in a wheelchair.

That means CHANGE. The loss of a daily routine. A loss of privacy.

It can also mean FEAR. A heightened sense of vulnerability. A likelihood that this is just the beginning of a downward spiral of even more loss. The prospect of loss of dignity or of being a burden.  There may also be fear of costs, such as loss of income from being laid up or high medical bills.

And let’s not forget about GRIEF. If the person has not fully processed the loss of function or independence, then he/she may not be ready to move on and accept help.

And lastly, is there PAIN that isn’t obvious. Pain can interfere with the ability to function and focus.

Then there’s always the added complication of memory loss in the elderly which adds to confusion about why the person needs your help at all!

So, the first step is not to charge in as the ‘savior’ caregiver, but to step back for a moment to appreciate what the person is facing.

Next week, I will offer some ideas for how to approach your loved one about caregiving.


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  1. Don’t Care for Me – Part 2 | The Olive Branch - May 25, 2015

    […] week, I posted Part 1 of a short series of the challenges of being a caregiver. We want to give. Why does someone else […]

  2. Don’t Care for Me – Part 3 | The Olive Branch - June 1, 2015

    […] I decided to devote three posts to it. How do you overcome resistance to caregiving? Click here for Parts 1 and […]

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