The Caregivers.

From the day I heard my wife’s kidneys had failed.  I became her caregiver, not just for medical concerns but for day-to-day activities also. I am her driver, I help her shower and dress, and we go to appointments together. As a caregiver you deal with many emotions: sadness, frustration, anxiety, or anger at times due to the individual’s changing needs. In this article we will talk about being a caregiver from our perspective as well as how we as caregivers can take care of ourselves too.

“ Remember, you are as important as the person you are caring for.” 

Kyle Hockridge

Being a caregiver, whether it be to a friend, family member or loved one following an illness, disease, or recovery from surgery or an accident, takes an extreme amount of patience and compassion. This can make it very difficult when the time comes when the person you are caring for passes away, leaving you with feelings of sadness, guilt, and loneliness.

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Many organizations tend to support the patient, but we as the caregivers are forgotten or not thought about as an Important part of the care team. There are so many caregivers who do not even know where to go for support, or even if there is support available.

The caregivers are the ones who take care of the patients. They do everything from cooking, doing laundry, transporting patients to their doctor’s appointments and many more things that you wouldn’t think would be taken into consideration. In short, we help them to live their life.

Caregivers are the shield any warrior holds up to protect his or herself, even if that warrior is unaware of it. Sometimes it can be very exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally because the caregiver may begin to feel guilty about having to give up things in their life, but they do it because they love their loved one. Caring for someone 24/7 is a challenge to any individual, but caregivers take on this type of responsibility out of love for these individuals. We are committed to taking care of them, but what happens when the patient passes? As caregivers, we are faced with many difficulties after an individual passes away. During the grieving process, caregivers are often neglected. The patients are resting in peace, and the attention goes away from them and onto the grieving process for the caregiver. Being a caregiver to a chronic illness patient is an unenviable task. It’s an exhausting occupation that takes an emotional toll, even when it’s done selflessly.

If you are a caregiver for someone with a chronic illness, kidney disease, or other types of disabilities, you’re not alone.

\You may find yourself thinking, or feeling, “Why me?” or “Why does this have to happen to me?”

The answers are complex at best, and we all want to do what’s best for our families, even when it means making significant sacrifices.

Caregiving is a major commitment, but the rewards are abundant. It can restore the dignity of being an important part of someone’s life. It can also bring renewed energy and enthusiasm. It can elevate one’s self-esteem and change your perspective on life itself. For many of us, it can bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment that comes from helping others reach their full potential, despite obstacles in their own journey.

Living with a chronic illness can be stressful and heartbreaking. Sometimes we feel we can do no more than we’ve already done. Other times we feel like we’ve tried everything and still aren’t getting anywhere or, even worse, that maybe there is something wrong with us.

There may be times when you want to give up caring for your loved one, but still find it difficult to walk away from them completely. In any case, “caregivers” are always available for emotional support and emotional labor, whether they are physically present or not, because there is no substitute for a caring relationship.

Enjoying the right to care for others is the overriding theme of this article. It has been written with you in mind, so let’s explore ways to meet this need.

  1. The word “caregiver” covers a wide range of possibilities. For example, if you are caring for your disabled spouse, you may also have to deal with his or her grandchildren or friends who are also caregivers to that person. We all have responsibilities that go beyond caring for our loved ones. Many people are raising children, maintaining homes, working full time, dealing with legal matters and social obligations, etc., while still being caregivers.
  2. Some situations require you to have a great deal of patience and tolerance. If taking care of someone causes stress for you, then, in all likelihood, you are a caregiver. In this case, it is best to accept the help that is available and develop a workable plan to keep things going smoothly. You also might want to consider making some temporary changes in your own life so that you have more “free” time, such as altering your work schedule, so you can spend more time with the person who needs the most attention.
  3. If you are a caregiver, make a list of everything that requires your attention. Keeping a journal is one way to stay organized and accountable for the tasks that have to be completed. Documenting the important things you have done each day can be very helpful for your own peace of mind, as well as being able to report back to people who require an accounting of the care you have provided.
  4. Make sure that all your concerns are addressed — medical, legal, financial, etc. The more organized you are, the better you will feel. But don’t let it take over your life so much that you neglect yourself or those around you.

Your health, both mental and physical, is highly significant. When you are a caregiver, we tend to forget or neglect our own health. There is a big difference between the two. In the article, it says:

Be physically active — that doesn’t have to mean going for a run or sledgehammer swinging into the woods. At some point, you have to sit down and rest, and unless you’re a vicarious skier, a walk around your neighborhood will do you good. Exercise helps to alleviate stress and strengthens muscles. It also eases anxiety by releasing endorphins, which produce a sense of euphoria — a significant relaxation technique for caregivers. Walking also gives your system time to clear out harmful toxins from stress-induced fatigue.

Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on Pexels.com

It is also important to hand over the duties once in a while to other friends or family members, even if just for a few hours. Just so your body and mind can take a break, we never need to feel guilty for needing a break, we all do. The important thing is to make a point to take that break.

RESOURCES FOR CAREGIVERS

There are many resources for caregivers, many can be found by a quick Google search, but here are some quick links.

Note: These links are for those dealing with Kidney Disease if you are a caregiver that is looking for information or resources with any other illness please conduct a Google search or reach out to us at admin@kidneywarriormerch.com we are more than willing to help, your request does NOT have to be kidney related.

https://www.kidney.org/patients/resources_Caregiver

https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/caregivers/ https://kidney.ca/Support/Peer-Support CANADA

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