Anticipatory grief, the set of feelings associated with an impending loss. Anticipatory grief occurs when a death is expected, but before it actually happens. It helps caregiver, family members, and friends prepare emotionally for the pending loss. Culture and religion can influence how individuals address anticipatory grief.
Getting your flu vaccine is more important than ever this year. This is especially true for caregivers whose loved ones depend on them. Flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, hospitalizations and been shown to be life-saving. This is a very important step that you can take to decrease the chance of getting the flu, especially since COVID-19 is another risk factor.
One’s grief journey is unique and personal. Your sense of loss is impact by a variety of factors, and no two losses will be grieved in the same way. One does not have to navigate grief alone; there are resources and supports to get through the process. Stay connected! Take advantage of assistance and resources, to help you manage the pain on your grief journey.
The award winning and captivating words of Pittsburgh’s Gerald Stern poem “Lucky Life”, serve as a balm for caregivers. Stern reminds us that life is made up of so many different feelings and memories. Caregivers can find relief from stress through his words!
Staying healthy is vital; don’t delay getting time-sensitive medical care, or ignore a sudden change in condition. Addressing changes in medical conditions early and promptly responding to a medical emergency improves your outcome. This is especially important if you are the caregiver, and your loved one is depending on you. Look after both your mental and physical health; be sure to do something nice for yourself each day.
Creativity takes on many forms of expression. Feeling your own joy can activate the power of the healing potential inside this moment of transformation. Sharing of creative energy during caregiving can be healing, discover your inner creativity. Take advantage of the wonderful resources to guide you through the healing process.
Caregiving is stressful and challenging, that’s an understatement. Preplanning can reduce your frenzy when a hurricane is looming in your area. The additional stressors, and changes in routine related to Covid-19 have resulted in extra unforeseen hurricane preparedness barriers. Eliminate the burden; complete your preplanning preparations. Make it easier for yourself to “weather the storm” by avoiding the last minute frenzy.
Being happy with what you have can be challenging when facing caregiving responsibilities and living during a pandemic. Modifying expectations and resisting the urge to compare your situation to those of others can help increase your level of happiness. There are simple things that you can incorporate into your routine to increase your level of happiness.
Frustration and disappointments are an inherent part of caregiving, yet recent events have added new aspects of frustration and disappointment, too often involving lack of caregiving support and companionship. These times of uncertainty challenge our support and coping mechanisms. Rechanneled frustrations and disappointments, into focusing on finding current rays of brightness and your hopes and wishes for the future.
Caregiving is full of unknowns. The role changes along with the unique needs of the loved one. It is one of the most challenging roles, yet there are rewards and surprises. There are caregiving commonalities, and no one came to the job with all the answers. Don’t be shy about reaching out for assistance.
Memory creation is impacted by our relationship with our loved one. After the passing of a loved one, there are numerous options available for preserving precious memories of your time together. Consider what tangible item will best help you preserve the memory of your loved. Did the loved one have a passion for clothes, books, pictures, plants or other item that will help you preserve a memory.
Resources needed to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic are in short supply. The determination as to how care will be allocated is already happening. There are a number of guidelines that are directing resource allocation. The discussion of the use of Palliative Care and hospice services has never been greater. There will never be a question of ensuring that patients are kept comfortable when there are not sufficient services or supplies for all.
The need to address Advance Directives and advance care planning has never been greater than during a pandemic. Consider who will speak for you and share your care preferences when you are unable to speak for yourself. Do your loved ones know where to find key documents and information how to manage your affairs? Take action to spare them from having to address your medical and financial needs in crisis mode. Take the time to get your affairs in order and share your preferences with those charged to manage on your behalf.
The use of disposable gloves has become common place. Although they provide a barrier, they are only a barrier, as strong as the glove. The use of gloves is not a substitute for handwashing. Incorrect use of disposable gloves can place you at risk from the very germs you are trying to avoid. Correct size of glove, appropriate removal, along with handwashing will minimize your exposure.
Social distancing is a strategy to minimize coming in contact with those that may be ill and not yet showing symptoms. It does not mean isolating yourself from others. There are precautions to be taken to ensure your person safety during these challenging times. Ensure that you have the knowledge to safely navigate during these challenging time.
The question of “will my Advance Directive be followed when I am unable to speak for myself?” should be of concern to everyone. The probability of your Advance Directive not being followed increases if the document is not readily available, your healthcare surrogate is not available, willing, or able to speak up on your behalf, it is possible that your wishes may not be honored. The need for a strong healthcare surrogate to advocate on your behalf is vital in insuring that your wishes are respected.
The free Just In Case Planning resource helps individuals work through the process of preparing for the inevitable. Keeping track of pertinent end of life documents, recording funeral considerations, creating a digital clean-up plan, and providing a space for reflections and messages for loved ones, this tool provides peace of mind for all. How can wishes be honored and respected if loved ones are not aware of your preferences? The Just In Case Planning resource provides a dynamic space for storing, sharing, and updating your important information.
Caregiver stress goes beyond managing the myriad of the emotional and physical symptoms experienced by caregivers. Unfortunately, few approaches to caregiver stress address the root cause that produces the emotional and physical reactions experienced by caregivers. Symptom management is important, yet is vital to address the underlying cause of caregiver stress, unmet and unrealistic expectations. The mismatches of expectations surface for a variety of reasons, and often go unrecognized as the catalyst for emotional and physical symptom manifestation. Caregivers can explore ways to reduce stress by setting and managing more realistic expectations.
Caregiver personal safety is extremely important. If the caregiver is incapacitated from an injury, who cares for the loved one? While no one can eliminate the risk of injury entirely, the use of proper body mechanics will absolutely reduce the risk of injury. Taking advantage of supplemental equipment and devices can further reduce the risk of injury to both the caregiver and loved one.
An annual year end personal report is status review that involves more than an evaluation of financial standing and legal documents; it also incorporates healthcare assessments and a review of your Advance Directives. Those are your wishes for future care and treatment, should you not be able to share them yourself. It is an opportunity to make modifications given changes in your health status and determine if individuals you named to carry out your wishes are still able and willing to do so. During times of celebration, reach out and reconnect with someone that you have missed or parted ways. Make time to recognize and acknowledge a caregiver for all the hard work that they do for a loved one. Share your gratitude with someone who could use a kind word, smile, or a hug.