Do you ask yourself “how can I ever get through this?” Part 3, fear and worry. | BrightStar Downtown Houston

Posted on August 5, 2012

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The stress on a family caregiver can be immense and the tendency can be to focus on getting the job done and not take the time to examine the feelings and frustrations we feel.  As we focus on the job at hand we can begin to feel loneliness, boredom, fear and worry and a loss of purpose.  Addressing each of these is just as necessary as it is to help with tasks, treatments, and daily cares; it is an important part of any care delivery system.

In this article we will deal with fear and worry and its compatriot anxiety.  See part 1, see part 2

If you are the caregiver for a loved one you can feel like you are at wit’s end and you are not alone.  The role of family caregiver is one of the most challenging and stressful roles anyone can assume.  Along with the never ending tasks comes fear and worry about many different facets of the job, the relationship you have with the patient and what the future holds.

Anxiety follows as we have not control over events around us.  Feelings of fear, worry and anxiety can be signs that you need to learn more about a situation and its options.  Unfortunately, many aspects of caregiving are beyond our control.  One of your greatest challenges may be to find ways to keep your fears from overwhelming you.  Find the positive aspects of a situation and use them for support.  Work on developing your patience and acceptance of those things that you cannot control.

BrightStar Care of Downtown Houston

BrightStar is an in-home health care company designed to help, give us a call at 832-730-1255.

Some of the issues that caregivers deal with are:

Money: A lot of caregivers don’t work and if they do they are constantly take time off to care for the patient.   You can worry about your future and this can bring a lot of fear and anxiety.

Legal questions: Legal issues can require finding a lawyer or advisors who know how to work with the legal system.  It is highly recommended that each person, patient and caregiver, have a will, Power of Attorney, Living Will – Medical Power of Attorney.  If there are children, particularly special needs children who will outlive the parents or, big differences in age between spouses bring in a legal advisor who specializes in preparing for the future.  These issues can be very complex and some need to be handled 5 or more before some government benefits start so don’t delay.

VA benefits: the VA benefits that are provided to our veterans can be life savers.  Try to qualify as early in the illness process as possible for as many benefits as you can.  Being proud and waiting can cost you dearly.  The processing time for Aid and Attendance benefits at the time of this writing is 6 to 9 months and that is if everything goes well.  Get help with the process if you need it.  There is a lot of money allocated for things like Homebound and Aid and Attendance benefits but the VA does a terrible job of letting vet’s and their families know about it.

Your lack of skills: This can be tricky as most family caregivers are anything but trained nurses.  You can be afraid you don’t have the skills or physical strength to handle the kind of caregiving required as the patient’s condition deteriorates.  Even if you do have appropriate training you will need to have respite care.  Studies show that caregivers working with patients with long illnesses or serious conditions can pass away before the patient and this can be the result of stress.  This is an area BrightStar can help with so don’t be afraid to call and ask for help.

Communication: Communicating with someone that is ill can be a challenge and a serious illness can make it worse.  Patients can feel depressed and withdrawn, not wanting to talk about much, and certainly not important issues.

Getting help: People want and protect their dignity preserved and some do not want a stranger taking care of his personal hygiene. Yet it’s all right if the family has to do unpleasant things like change dressings and tubes, and clean up bodily discharges. Often professional caregivers can help with this and this is what BrightStar specializes in.  Call us and we can work with you to craft a solution.

Solutions

Sort your concerns. Write them down and separate them into categories: A—things I want to say but don’t expect a response to; B—things I want to say but won’t, because it won’t make a difference; C—things I want to say but should only share with a friend; D—things I really need to talk about, know about, have resolved, or make a decision about. Category D will be the topics you will discuss with the patient.

Learn some communication tools. First, learn how to present each D issue in a way that will encourage dialog. Don’t ask “why” they do something, when you really mean “stop doing it!” Don’t try to change their opinion.  Work on changing either their behavior or yours. Practice reflective listening, where you repeat back  what was just said instead of interpreting. Try to use first person “I” statements; these will help avoid getting into the blame game.

Try to come to resolutions that will be acceptable to both sides.

via Do you ask yourself “how can I ever get through this?” Part 3, fear and worry. | downtown-houston.

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