The Life Transition Blog
Lifesavers for Long-Distance Caregivers – Part II
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Caregiving is all about control. As the caregiver, you want to control everything so that "nothing bad" happens. The person being cared for wants to remain in control so that they continue to feel like a complete person. If you can remember that control is at the core of every action and every reaction, it will help you keep things in perspective. When you become frustrated, ask yourself why you are trying to control the situation, what will happen if you stop, and why YOU feel out of control.
One of the most important caregiving lessons is to ask for help. And then, ask again. There are so many wonderful people and resources available to help you. Don't feel like you are less of a caregiver when you accept help. Be specific about what you need. It's much easier for someone to respond to your request to bring Dad dinner one night a week then to respond to the vague request to "keep an eye on Dad."
And speaking of asking for help, remember that you are no good to anyone if you get sick, so take the time to take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Ask for help for your own needs if that will help you be the best caregiver that you can be.
While it might seem expensive, engaging a professional to help you may be a wise investment. A family transition coach can assist you in putting all of the pieces in place early, ideally even before your loved one's health has deteriorated. This professional can help you select your caregiving team so that you know exactly who to call when the time comes. As a neutral third party, your coach can help navigate the family dynamics that often are heightened during times of transition.