The Caregiving Decision is a Pro-Family Choice
We knew this day was coming, the day of decision. We’d been hovering around the question for weeks, yet always careful to avoid the monster in the corner… the dreaded caregiving decision.
Who was going to move their family to care for Mom during this time of need?
There were really only three choices: my family, my sister or a nursing home. Other family members lived too far away.
There are times, in the life of any family, when hard choices must be made concerning the care of an elderly parent. People approach these decisions in different ways with their choice influenced by many different factors.
The caregiving decision is also influenced by the point of view of the caregiver. “What will this do to my plans and my family?” Or perhaps “What will happen to mom if I don’t do this?” Some people will run the other way.
I think the thing to remember is everyone can do something. In my family, we are concerned about and care for each other. Each person was willing to do what they could in whatever manner or time they had available. If there are those in your family who shy away from the job at hand, try not to be judgmental. Give them a little space. Make sure that person always feels welcome and is still important to the family.
We don’t always know the reason why some folks keep caregiving at arms-length. It could be that it’s just too hard to accept that this “person in need” is struggling with their declining health and is no longer the strong, healthy person they once were. Or it could be they are facing issues in their own life that just can’t be set aside.
Again, we don’t always know.
Usually, with a little creative thinking, we can find something for everyone to do,.. even kids. Try to think of it this way. Someone needs to be the primary caregiver. (Give that person a hug!) Everyone else will need to offer support in some way.
The primary caregiver may need a medical power of attorney, also known as a Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD), to be able to simplify the facilitating medical needs.
The primary caregiver needs a support staff – (so to speak). If the total job of care is piled onto one person there is the real danger of burn-out, then there are two persons who need caring for.
There are many ways to support the caregiver, including:
- Bring over some prepared food.
- Mow the lawn, wash the car, etc.
- Assist with grocery shopping.
- Help out with transporting to Doctor’s appointments.
- Stop by for a cup of coffee to chat, raise spirits, and volunteer for odd jobs.
- Be a temporary sitter for a while, and let the caregiver have a break.
- Pay for some expenses of the primary caregiver or patient.
- Make use of a home healthcare agency.
We were blessed in our caregiving decision with great family support. We had a list of persons who said they were ready to help with anything. We had a kid who at 16 was dependable and ready to help, and my wife with a “roll-up-your-sleeves and let’s-do-this” attitude.
Some folks aren’t so lucky. Their caregiving decision is not a decision at all. It’s more like a no-other-choice appointment.
Still, caring for people we love is not the worst thing that can happen to us. And knowing we did our best will give us the peace of mind only a few achieve.
Hang in there, caregivers.