When someone close to us begins to face the realities of an advancing illness, many of us will begin to define ourselves as caregivers. Hospice can allow us to do just that, for one of the many options available with hospice care is the option of a family member serving as a caregiver. For many, becoming a caregiver offers connection, pride and the opportunity to express how deeply we care about our loved one. In a very real sense it is a heroic role and a truly demanding role. Though hospice family caregivers have great support and help from our hospice team, it is still a role that will take time and present challenges. Learning how to deal with the stresses that are a natural part of facing a loved one’s illness as well those that come from stepping into the caregiving role, will help you provide the best possible care.
With the end goal of ensuring the best possible care for your loved one, support from others will be important. Consider seeking help from other family members, faith communities, friends and even neighbors who may be willing to help. Though asking for help may be difficult, the benefits for you and your loved one will outweigh your hesitations. You are likely to find that many are glad to help, and may be waiting for you to need them.
It is important as a caregiver to remember to make time for yourself and to take care of your own needs. Remember, the care that you give your loved one suffers if you are not in the best possible place, both physically and mentally. It is vital that you remain healthy and able to provide your loved one with the best care you can and that begins with taking care of yourself.