One topic that comes up fairly often at caregiver support meetings is: Am I capable of being a caregiver? The simple answer is yes, we are all capable of being a caregiver in some way or another. Being a caregiver for a loved one doesn’t mean you have to care for someone 24/7, all by yourself. Here are a few questions to consider when deciding how to provide the best care you can:
1. Consider your own needs, abilities and limitations.
a. Do you currently work and need to continue to work outside the home?
b. How much care does your loved one’s health condition require (very little, some, frequent, constant)?
c. Can the needs realistically be met at home by one or two people? Is more home assistance needed, would a facility be able to better provide the needed care?
d. Are you comfortable providing for all of your loved one’s care needs? Are there some aspects of the care that are just uncomfortable?
e. Do you have support from other family members, friends and community members willing to share the care in your home?
2. Reach out and utilize resources that are available to help you with these decisions. Reach out to your doctor, your clergy, other family members and local agencies like Central Vermont Council on Aging and Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice, or disease specific associations (i.e.) stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, etc. via the internet or library to find program and services in your area.
3. Remember, no decision has to be final and forever. As time passes and things change, you can and should re-evaluate the situation and work with others to find new solutions for you and your loved one’s ever changing needs.
No two situations are alike and no one person was ever meant to meet all of another person’s needs. It’s okay to ask for help and there are supports and resources in your local community that are ready and willing to share their expertise in a way that will help you build the best caregiving you can. Please let us know if this has been helpful and/or you have other questions that we can help you with. Write to Dear Grace c/o PI Barre, 81 N. Main Street – Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283 or email us at DearGrace@pibarre.org