Becoming a Family Caregiver
It is not unusual for a family member to suddenly find them self in the role of a caregiver to a seriously ill family member. We all go through varying stages of emotions when our lives have been transformed by becoming a family caregiver. Research has shown there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These are the emotions that form the framework which makes up our learning to adjust and cope with our life as a family caregiver while we watch someone we love struggle with chronic illness.
The responsibility of being a primary caregiver can overwhelm you. The time requirements and physical demands of caring for older people are taxing. The emotional stress can be ever worse. So consider all the consequences carefully before you agree to be come a primary family caregiver.
Family members are in a position to help reduce the burden and stress of caregiving. There are times when strong disagreements arise over the treatment of an ill family member. All too often, a care giving family member is pitted against a distant family member who may feel guilty for not "being there. If there has been a history of feeling left out, arguing, or providing an unfair share of care giving, there can be deep resentment, too.
A sudden serious illness of a family loved one often bring families closer together than they may have been in years. Children of the seriously ill parent will have to make informed adhesions. There are situations where it is clear who will make the decisions and how. Think about how your family operates.