A noticeable change occurs in the course of caring for a loved one—it’s the reality smacking us in the face that we are indeed alone at times to figure things out on our own. No matter how many times we read and hear that “we are not alone” we learn quickly…yes we are. There will be times that no one has the answers, no one has that one thing that our situation requires, so we must figure it out how to make it happen ourselves.
So we become very good knowledgeable in the aspects of care. This is always a good thing…except when it isn’t. No one “knows it all”, no one is beyond the need for a new perspective, professional help and/or simply a break from the mental attempt of trying to figure out the next move.
Often I notice that on one hand the biggest detriment to caregiving is there’s not always help available, yet on the other it becomes difficult for the caregiver to let go of controlling every aspect of care responsibilities for a loved one. So much so that even when help is being offered, it isn’t taken. Similar to what comes first, the chicken or the egg.
Do we tire of never receiving help that we shun it for fear it can’t be true? Or is the help tired of us turning them down? Is it that long term anticipatory stressors back us into the need to control so much we actually do ourselves a disservice? It isn’t unusual for me to hear from non-primary caregivers in families to discuss how they’d like to help more, but are met with resistance.
I hear phrases like “they won’t let go control” and “need to have it their way only” when describing the main person in control of the care recipient’s needs. The balancing of multiple spinning plates can easily leave no wiggle room for errors, but this doesn’t have to mean others cannot offer input. Some form of assistance, even if one doesn’t believe initially things will not be done like they’d prefer.
I believe the one offering the help must not give up in offering assistance, no matter how frustrating it can be. Maybe with creative conversations and consistently showing up with patience and understanding that the caregiver is simply unsure of what is being offered. On the same token, there comes a time when the caregiver cannot be so concerned of the who is getting the tasks completed, but that the tasks are being completed.
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