AARP is a valuable resource for caregivers. Recognizing that more and more adults are becoming caregivers for family members, they have developed a section of their website with a variety of resources for family caregivers. To check out the resources they offer, go online to www.aarp.org/caregiving. One of their resources includes a meeting for family caregivers entitled "CAREversations".READ MORE
Grieving is a time of experiencing a variety of emotions as one learns to live without the deceased loved one. For months, a mourner may experience sadness, loneliness, remorse, guilt, fear, anxiety, depression and other emotions in addition to having less energy, wanting to sleep a lot or not being able to sleep at all. The world may feel like a deep, dark cave void of life. Fortunately, as time passes, little rays of light and hope begin to penetrate the darkness and the world is no longer such a forbidding place.READ MORE
Caregivers become the eyes, ears and voices for their care receivers as they voice their loved ones’ concerns and make sure that the medical providers understand them. Caregivers also lend their eyes and ears to the medical providers. Because caregivers know more about their loved ones’ situation than the medical providers, it is important that they continuously observe and communicate changes in the care receiver’s physical, mental, behavioral and emotional health.READ MORE
Loss is often associated with caregiving occurring for both the caregiver and the care receiver. As the caregiving journey becomes more intense and approaches full time responsibility, the caregiver begins to lose aspects of the life he/she formerly knew. She/he may no longer have time to work, volunteer, and pursue hobbies and favorite activities. In the case of care receivers who are in declining health, losses can occur at a frequent pace as she/he loses cognitive function, mobility and the ability to handle daily living needs.READ MORE
There are many myths and incorrect notions about grief that can make the grief journey harder than it need be. One common myth is that a person who does not express his/her sorrow for the death of a loved one by crying does not really love or miss her/his loved one.
Each person grieves differently. Some people cry often and for long periods of time. Others may discover that the tears just do not flow. Yet, in both these cases, the degree of mourning may be equally intense. Some individuals have been trained since childhood to not cry no matter what the situation. Even without tears, they feel the loss of their loved ones tremendously.READ MORE
In a recent column, a connection was made between caregiving and grief. Caregivers often experience anticipatory grief as they watch their loved ones decline. It is normal and common for caregivers to become depressed and angry because they do not have control over the situation. It is normal for caregivers to become angry with themselves for not being able to do more, with their loved ones for not cooperating or wanting to get better, with the medical providers for not listening closely enough and even with God for not answering their prayers. As the grip of anticipatory grief grows tighter, the caregiver’s health is at an even greater risk. And, as the caregiver experiences more personal health issues, he/she is no longer able to care for the loved one which creates more anxiety and grief. Starting this month, issues concerning grief will be explored in this column as the columnalternates between providing support for caregivers and support for those who are mourning.
Grief occurs when one experiences a loss. Losses include the death of spouse, children, family members, friends and pets, one’s own declining health, end of relationships, end of employment or change of jobs, destruction or loss of home and even loss of dreams or personal goals. Loss is an inevitable part of life; the journey through loss and its accompanying grief requires patience and time for healing.READ MORE