What’s My Role As A Caregiver During COVID-19?
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage." ― Lao Tzu, philosopher
During these trying times, we may find that our roles (i.e. child, sibling, grandchild, spouse, partner, friend, stepparent, etc.) may be looking a bit different. Breathe. Take a moment to step back and prioritize what each of these roles need from you, and what you can actually give without sacrificing your entire sense of “self.”
I can speak for myself, and I can admit that my role as a caretaker is one that involves many emotions. In particular, during this pandemic, my role has encompassed more worry, fear, and concern. I can say that I worry about my elderly, widowed grandfather more than usual. How can I not? He’s elderly, alone, and this pandemic is one to proceed with much caution.
I can definitely say that what has been helping me has been my support system, constant checking in with myself, and utilizing my very own toolbox. Yes, as a therapist, I, too, have a toolbox of my own. Those tools consist of what helps me cope during times of feeling overwhelmed, because let me tell you, scheduling multiple doctor’s sessions, attending them and keeping the rest of the family up to date is a job within itself. I found myself purchasing a new planner today, to serve as a key tool in staying organized. In doing so, it helps manage my anxiety during times of what he needs and what and exactly how much I can actually give.
What can be helpful during these times?
I find that right now during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to check-in with myself, turn to my support system, utilize my resources—whether it be community resources, medical resources, personal resources—because at the end of the day it’s okay to ask for help. It’s important to remind ourselves, what we were able to do a few weeks back looks a whole lot different today. When I could drive 20 minutes to my grandfather’s house to make sure he was taking his medications, eating, or just to say hello doesn’t look the same. We have had to become creative and innovative. We as humans, we have that capacity—and I have tapped into that. Luckily, technology has been on our side. I have been able to stay connected with my grandfather via Zoom, Facetime, and simple calls. It may not be the same, but it is what works for now.
I leave you with this, know what your role entails and what you need. Do what you can, and do it safely, because at the end of the day if we are not healthy then we cannot help those that need us. We cannot pour from an empty cup! There are endless resources to assist you during these trying times. Don’t do it alone. Don’t feel stuck and overwhelmed. We are all going through this pandemic together, and these are indeed challenging times. Stay safe and stay healthy!
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai Lama
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