In the world of grief recovery, a commonly held idea is that a mourner moves through grief in a prescribed set of stages starting with denial and isolation, moving to anger, on to bargaining, then to depression and finally to acceptance. These emotional stages and reactions to grief were studied and identified by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Later research revealed that there is no particular order in which these emotions are experienced. In reality, some mourners do not experience all of the emotions; others experience all the emotions, but in different orders. It is even possible to cycle back and re-experience earlier occurring emotions in the grief journey.READ MORE
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
Caregivers soon learn that caregiving becomes an emotional roller coaster as they experience a variety of emotions. One difficult emotion to handle is that of grief as the caregiver realizes his/her loved one is declining. This type of grief is called anticipatory grief as it anticipates the feelings the caregiver may experience upon the death of the loved one. Many times the caregiver will not realize she/he is in the grips of anticipatory grief. Research conducted in the area of grief has shown that mourners experience grief on many emotional levels including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. These emotions can occur in any order and return at various times, and these emotions can occur before the loss actually happens. One of the most difficult things to do in life is to watch a loved one slip away and know that all efforts to stop the decline have failed. Caregivers in this situation need to step back and take time for self-care. This may include seeing a therapist or even attending a grief support group that can help the caregiver understand his/her feelings.READ MORE
One of the hardest things for family caregivers to accept is the reality that they may not be able to care for their loved ones without assistance from others. Many caregivers feel embarrassed or guilty when they realize they cannot do everything. Once this realization sets in, the next step is to ask for assistance from caring, concerned friends and family members. Many times this does not happen because caregivers are too overwhelmed to figure out how others can assist.READ MORE
For the past three weeks, we have been exploring some ideas of how 24/7 caregivers can work self-care time into their busy caregiving schedules. Several options have been presented including hiring professional caregivers, asking family and friends to visit the care receiver while the caregiver takes a break, and taking the loved one to an adult day care center.READ MORE
For the past two weeks, we have been exploring some ideas of how 24/7 caregivers can work self-care time into their busy caregiving schedules. The first option discussed was asking a family member or friend to relieve the caregiver so that he/she can take a break. A variation of that option was presented – hiring someone to take care of the care recipient and getting reimbursed for up to $300 in a three-month period from the Arizona Caregiver Coalition. A second option explored last week was to have friends come do activities with the care receiver or take him/her to lunch while the caregiver takes time for self-care.READ MORE