Addressing the Worries about Your Own Health that Arise During Your Caregiver Journey
February 12, 2016
Caregivers in Squirrel Hill PA
Being a family caregiver for your elderly loved ones gives you many unique opportunities to enjoy your time with them, enhance their lives, and ensure that they are living the quality of life that they need and deserve.
It also offers you the chance to explore your own health and how you feel about your future health and care needs. As you care for your elderly parents you are going to be put in the middle of all of their health challenges, seeing from a very close perspective what they are going through, how they are handling it, and what type of care they choose to help guide them through it. While these situations can be extremely stressful and upsetting for you if they are serious, they can also be a powerful source of information, insight, and personal growth.
By utilizing your experiences as a family caregiver to more closely examine your own health and address the worries that you develop along the course of your care journey you can take steps toward being a more compassionate and effective caregiver for your loved ones, but also a more prepared and confident person within your own life journey.
Some ways that you can address the worries about your own health and future care that can develop during your care journey with your elderly loved ones include:
- Be honest about your own health. When you were younger you likely saw your parents as virtually invincible. This is a common perception children have of their parents and many people carry it right through their adult years. It is easy to think of the people who raised you as being people who would never get old, sick, or weak, but when you become their caregiver suddenly you are put in the position of seeing them in exactly that way. When you start to feel like you will never experience the problems that they are, or that you are far healthier and stronger than they ever were, remember that feeling. Remind yourself that it is important to be honest about your health, your wellbeing, and your potential weaknesses because one day it will be you that has reached your elder years and you may be going through the same things.
- Know about heredity. Some health conditions strike relatively randomly, with seemingly no rhyme or reason to who develops them or how severe they will be. Others, however, have a very strong hereditary risk factor, meaning that if your parents have certain conditions, you are at a higher risk of developing them yourself. Be aware of which of your parents’ health concerns carry this hereditary risk factor so that you can start talking to your doctors about your risks and making decisions now that can influence your care then.
- Make conscious plans. As you are going through your care efforts for your parents, pay close attention to each of their health needs and how you handle them together. Determine what you think is working out the way that you would want it to, and what you think that you would rather change. Use this information to make conscious plans for yourself so that you feel more confident both in the care that you give your parents, and the care that you will later receive.