Caregiver’s Heart Episode 1: What About the Stages of Caregiving Associated With Caregiver Stress?
Caregiving can be both the best and hardest thing you ever do for someone you love.
The first episode of Caregiver’s Heart Podcast explores the stages of caregiving. And caregiver stress can affect each stage, often in different ways…
Janet felt her world turned upside down.
“The Call” came in the middle of the night. Her Dad passed suddenly, and Janet found herself responsible for her elderly mother who had mild dementia. Unable to now live independently and alone.
Janet knew that a nursing home now was not an option. The expense was outside her family’s income, and more importantly Janet feared how her mother would—or more likely would not—cope with that kind of change.
Now Janet wondered—
- What could she to do to prepare?
- How would caregiving affect her life and her family?
- And was she ready physically and emotionally to face the unknown future?
Most caregivers journey from novice to experienced caregiver, and then face the challenges of grieving and finally living beyond the caregiving. There is individual variation however. And grieving can be for more than your loved one. It can also be for the life you left behind and more.
Caregiver stress can affect you at any stage during your journey. This first episode starts by explaining what each step in the caregiving journey is…
If you are reading this post on a site other than Caregiving With Purpose, click here for the podcast.
Podcast Show Notes & Resources
Vortex Diagram Mentioned in the Podcast
So what are the stages of caregiving associated with caregiver stress?
- There’s the Beginning Caregiver. Or Caregiving 101, basic caregiving. This is where most new folks starts. Although you may feel today like you’re at a different stage. And you may be a beginner in one part of giving care, while more advanced in another.
- The next stage is Giving Care. This is more advanced than beginners, and you may even become an expert in this stage.
- What most caregivers ignore is the next step: Self-care or Caring for the Caregiver. Caregiving is a demanding job. And you need to be healthy and whole to do it well. You need to care for yourself before you can care for anyone else. Why? If for no other reason then who will care for your loved one if you cannot due to illness or worse?
- Crafts for Caregiving represents an intermediate stage of caregiving. It can be a way for the caregiver to get a break. Crafts are very helpful in relaxing or just doing something else. They can also be a way to involve your loved one in something. She may be able to help, or to supervise or just watch. Making projects together can lead to some lovely lasting memories and a tangible item that can be enjoyed long after the caregiving ends. I have quilts my mother and I made together after her heart attack, and a clock my Dad crafted after his stroke.
- End of Life Care is a later stage of caregiving. It involved grieving and caring for the special needs of someone who is making their final journey Home.
- Living Beyond Caregiving is about finding your life after the caregiving ends or changes. Sometimes it’s a lifelong journey, and sometimes it’s much shorter.
There will be more about each of these stages and how caregiver stress affects them in upcoming episodes and blog posts. Caregiver stress does affect each stage, and some solutions are universal to cover all stages while others unique to each one.
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From my heart to yours… Laugh Well, Love Well and Live Well!
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (Retired)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Founder, www.CaregivingWithPurpose.com and www.TheKnittingYarn.com
Ambassador of Caregiving at www.HowToLiveOnPurpose.com