Caring for a loved one whose life has been shortened is challenging work that most of us are untrained or prepared for. The emotions, the worry, the uncertainty about treatments, caring for children and the social isolation are sometimes more than any person can bear.
Most of us know care-givers who just need a little encouragement to live a healthier lifestyle. Take them out to lunch and let them talk, offer no advice, express concern about their health in a gentle way and spend some meaningful time together. If ever there is a time in a person’s life when understanding acceptance and a respectful attitude are necessities, this is it.
Sometimes, it is helpful to share your own story – being exhausted, frustrated and the never ending demands, and in the end it being the most rewarding time of your life. Exhausting and frustrated because you had to do a host of things for which you had no training or experience. Demanding as you make sure they get their rest while handling the endless phone calls, visitors and the never ending juggling of medication.
Remember that Hospice and Red Cross have services that can help and that you’re not alone – you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Hospice is a place where people are received with love, caring and the expertise to help them live out their lives, free of pain and in dignity.