Are we overdoing things as caregivers?

I tried
to debate this in my head over and over again as to what had compelled the
family to think that a 90-year-old had to be kept mobile? Was it really the
concern or the guilt that they weren’t doing enough for a 90-year-old to stay
healthy?

A few
days later, i had a conversation with a nurse at a hospital in Bangalore who
had just returned after working abroad. According to her she had never seen so
many relatives wait outside the ICU of an American hospital. And their presence
wasn’t even helping.  In fact, she said she overheard a couple of them say
that ‘’we just have to be here’’.

We belong
to a land that is rich in culture & tradition and service to others is our
forte. But do we foist upon ourselves the unwanted guilt that we aren’t doing
enough and keep going that extra mile for our ailing loved ones every single
time?

Maybe we
do.

Caregiving
is a tough job. But i guess most of us make it tougher by doing things that are
not really required and inadvertently not only put the patient but also
ourselves through a great amount of trauma.

Let’s
start thinking a little differently and trust me it only makes things better.

  • It is fine to have someone
    take care of your loved one besides you. Be it a relative or a caregiver.
    The health or the recovery of your loved one will not deteriorate if you
    are not available all the time.
  • If your loved one finds it
    increasingly difficult to chew and swallow food, it is acceptable to use a
    tube as per the physician’s advice. It is not your fault and you aren’t
    doing anything lesser for them by not feeding them orally.
  • Unless it is strictly
    prohibited by the doctor, your loved one can enjoy the food they crave
    for. You don’t have to keep preparing special soups and salads unless
    required all the time.

However,
if a special diet is required it is perfectly fine to hire someone to cook it
for you.

  • Believe it or not, your
    ailing loved one also needs some ‘me’ time. They don’t have to keep
    talking, remembering names, smiling and being part of celebrations or
    gatherings they are not even registering.
  • Caring for a sick love one
    can be a challenging task. No one ever scores a full 100. So don’t let
    those little insignificant lapses play on your mind and affect you
    emotionally. You are doing a great job.
  • Think about the comfort of
    your loved one sometimes too instead of always robotically following a
    strict schedule. If they don’t feel like going for a walk one day, its ok.
    You all can watch television or play a game and have a good time.
  • Last but definitely not the
    least. Acknowledge your emotions and let them find a way out. It’s
    perfectly normal. You will return to your tasks refreshed and rejuvenated.

In the end, remember what Mother Teresa said, “It’s
not about how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing” and that
love sometimes means letting go.

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