Never Too Late - November 2022


Do You Care? By Selina Linn , Mayra Burgos , Tonetta Clay , and Kelley Hansen —Your Friendly Caregiver Support Team I bet you do! Caring about and caring for others is common to human beings. If you invest even a little time, energy, or money into meeting another person’s physical, mental, emotional, or social needs, you are a caregiver! And November is National Caregiver Appreciation Month—so thank you! PCOA’s Caregiver Support Team daily works with caregivers, many of whom have similar experiences. Caregivers often feel as if they are alone, constantly caring, and without their own identity. And the end is often grief. This article looks at those commonalities and offers hope. You are not alone. Caring for a loved one—a spouse/partner, parent, sibling, or child/grandchild often requires constant attention beyond that which you believe yourself capable. This is overwhelming! Overwhelmed Caregivers get “stuck” in being “too busy,” feeling afraid, or being ashamed to openly describe courageous! When you ask for help, you— and your loved ones—grow and connect. Even those who live far away may offer support like a listening ear, or financial assistance to meet your care recipient’s needs. Schedule honest discussions with friends and family to explore the “what if” situations and possible responses to them. Create a community of trusted people within your faith circle or civic organization. And schedule time with daily challenges or ask for help. Seeking assistance is strong and

a Caregiver Specialist to map out a personalized care plan for your loved one and yourself! You Need a Break. As a Caregiver, you may think that your brain will never stop. Planning. Preparing. Worrying! This can be stifling, even suffocating. And in this space, it is difficult to know which needs— whose needs—to meet next. Creating time for breaks is an imperative skill! Taking two minutes to simply breathe and stretch your neck is a great start— and it gets stronger with practice. Taking breaks increases your clarity and problem solving, refreshes your compassion, and strengthens your hope—and makes you a better Caregiver! PCOA’s Caregiving Team offers instruction in relaxation and self-care techniques, caregiver support groups, and formal resources for breaks (known as respite). Rediscover Yourself. “Who am I, now?” many Caregivers wonder. Caring for a loved one takes a toll mentally, physically and emotionally. You know everything about your loved one…their illness, medications, sleep schedule, favorite activities, doctor’s appointments, and every inch of their bodies…while you have pushed yourself, your friends, and your passions aside. Caregiving may have become your new identity, but you get to define yourself and the rest of your life! The time is now to create your dash—the dash between your birth day and death day. Perhaps you can schedule coffee with a friend, cook your favorite meal, listen to beautiful music, create something beautiful, go for a drive, journal, or take a

“The simple act of caring is heroic.” --Edward Albert nap! Use your imagination and creativity— you got this! You are important too, so no more excuses, and no regrets. It is time to take back your life and make your dash count! Find Peace and Hope Again. Caregiving is full of emotional challenges and disappointments including frustration, discouragement, grief and loss because your loved one is no longer the person you once knew. Perhaps he was fit and active, but now faces limitations. Perhaps she was sharp and witty, but now thinks in childlike ways. Or maybe you fear your future will be days—or years—without your loved one. These feelings are both real and normal, yet they are not the end. Finding peace and hope in your caregiving journey comes by intentionally cherishing the moments with your loved one as they are now . Love him without regret or expectation. Invest in her legacy no matter how large or how small it may be. And take comfort in knowing that your love is enough, even when it seems like it is not. PCOA’s compassionate Caregiver Support Team offers supports, resources, and opportunities tailored to your caregiving needs. Call (520) 790-7262, and allow us to thank you for caring!

November 2022, Never Too Late | Page 9

Pima Council on Aging

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