Talk: Listening is just as important as talking. You can discuss doctor
appointments, changes in work schedules, current events, travel and holiday
plans. Engage in conversation. Express yourself clearly and effectively as it is
necessary and therapeutic, even when someone doesn’t agree or accept what
Share duties: Caregiving isn’t a one-person job. Everyone can play a role.
Even when living out of state, they can do research and make calls. Determine
who’s free to travel to medical appointments, prepare meals a few times per
week or be sure bills are paid.
Honor wishes if possible: Don’t impose your will on your loved one. Try to
make them as comfortable and autonomous as possible. Know what you are
Don’t run away: Sometimes being there is all you can do. If you can’t visit or
live far away, you can call. A familiar voice can be comforting.
Accept reality: Some things you can change and some you can’t. You can’t
necessarily make someone better, but you can preserve their dignity. You can
make them comfortable, loved and accepted.
Practice self-care: Easier said than done. It is so important to avoid burning
out physically, mentally and emotionally. Keeping a routine can help so that you
don’t feel out of control. What makes you feel vital—walks, jogs, yoga,
socializing, reading, writing—try to keep it up, even if by Zoom. Tell people
about your activities so they respect its importance to you and allow you to find
the time needed.
Adapted from The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2021