My mother wasn’t aware that she had a system for coping with the emotional stress of caregiving, but as I edited her letters into my book, “Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver,” I realized she had developed a strategy. She did three specific things almost every time she was confronted with a difficult situation:
- Become AWARE of the specific issues that are causing you the greatest amount of emotional stress.
- ACCEPT that you are human and that you are coping with situations that are extremely complicated and difficult to manage.
- ACT by taking care of the things you can change and release the things over which you have no power, influence or control.
These three steps helped her develop and maintain an “Attitude of Creative Indifference,” which she described as the practice of not allowing oneself to become emotionally ravaged by events or the progression of a disease.
Maintaining emotional equilibrium while caring for a loved one who is aged, chronically ill or disabled is not easy. It takes constant effort, and some days you will do better than others so you must be gentle with yourself.
For more information on how to implement these steps into your own caregiving experience, please watch this video from the Caregiver Survival Training Course, in which my husband and I describe the process in more depth.
Based on her own experience of caring for family elders, Elaine K. Sanchez developed a passion for helping others cope with the emotional stress of caring for those who cannot care for themselves. She and her husband, Dr. Alex Sanchez, have developed a Caregiver Survival Training Course for family caregivers as well as a number of entertaining and enlightening online CEU courses for nurses, long-term care administrators and mental health professionals. For links to her CEU courses, visit: http://www.caregiverhelp.com/continuing-education-courses-professional-caregivers/