12 Conversations for Caregivers
Relationships are the foundation for love, support, and caregiving. Walking an extended healthcare journey may bring out the best and the worst in us and our loved ones. Relationships are blessed. Relationships are torn apart.
Caregiving may be well orchestrated. Caregiving may be intensely chaotic. We may direct the care well, and at other times we are directed by chaos and circumstances beyond our control.
Flooding emotions are the norm: ove, frustrations, hope, despair, gratefulness, resentment, energy, fatigue, confidence, confusion, fear, courage, calm, and desperation only begin to describe the journey.
The diagnosis is a “not-so-silent” silent partner in our lives. It screams for our attention. It becomes the focal point of living, yet it may be the harbinger of death. It may bring us closer together in our love, or it may rob us of our joy.
Giving and receiving support is an essential part of self-care for caregivers. There is a danger that caregivers may become socially isolated. Staying connected to people who understand you and care about you is vital for your well being.
In these twelve conversations for caregivers, you will have opportunities to share with others who are also on their caregiving journeys. Each conversation topic provides a loosely structured format with questions that encourage you to share your experiences. These conversations may occur in a small group or simply between two caregivers.
You will learn from the stories of others you are not alone. You will bond with others who are walking this journey. You will give and receive strength as you juggle the many demands on your life.
Life Before the Diagnosis
Beginning the Journey
Physical Challenges of Caregiving
Your Medical Team
Legal and Financial Matters
Self-Care for the Caregiver
Planning for the Future
If You Are Saying Goodbye
meet the needs of the patient while not neglecting the needs of
From Caregivers . . .
“I never wanted to think we would be walking this journey together. We have such a different view now. Time together is what matters most. I love the way we hold and touch each other.”
“Each day is a new gift. We need to be intentional about our choices for our time.”
Questions for Sharing
- What are some of your memories of life together?
- How would you describe your relationship through the years?
- What difficulties have you faced together?
- What is one special thing your loved one has done for you?
- What have you enjoyed doing together?
- How has your relationship grown and changed over the years?
- What brings you joy and happiness in your life?
- What travels or other activities have you enjoyed?
- How are you balancing “life now” as compared to your life before the diagnosis?
- When did you first learn of the medical issues you are both facing?
- What caregiving experiences have you provided in the past? How is this similar or different?
- How are you juggling your multiple roles in life along with this new role of caregiver?
A Step Beyond the Conversation
Get your photographs out. Review a timeline of your life. Reminisce about your lives and share some of your favorite memories, activities, events, stories, or songs. Make a list of them and with whom you would like to share your stories.