5 Key Choices
Know that you are not alone
Seek out the experiences of those who have gone before you. Having thoughtful companions either in person, in book form or through social media is key to supporting yourself as you learn. Times when you feel isolated and struggling to feel OK about your caring experiences are the very times to reach out for help.
Reach out for help
This is truly not an experience to ‘have a go at’ alone. Choose to attract and grow your home team – the ‘glue that holds things- and you – together. In time, friends, family and volunteers can become a welcome home team of drivers, loving companions, listeners, and meal contributors. It is called community. Open a door for others to come alongside you and share their caring gifts. You may be positively surprised at who joins in!
Accept uncertainty as a key thread
Accept uncertainty as a key thread of the accidental carer experience. It can take a while if you’re used to ‘fixing things’. Seeking to ‘know’ is so understandable. It is common to receive replies of ‘no one knows’, ‘everyone is different’ and to gradually sense this is true.
Clarifying what is most important to you will ease the way at a time that lacks certainty.
Know that you matter!
Medical consultations you attend will naturally focus on the ill person you care for. You matter too, even if you are not acknowledged. The fact that you are likely to have driven the ill person there, found a park, organised the day to do this and will be a key conversation partner and meal maker afterwards is unseen and therefore unknown. That is why the Home Team can be so supportive. They know.
Staying well can be very challenging with day to day care over time. It is huge. Some people are juggling work outside the home or other family responsibilities too. The impact on your body, mind and spirit can be barely noticed at first. Setting aside time to yourself, spending time with a good friend and asking for help when you realise you need a break from caring will help you not to become overwhelmed.