My Grandma had her leg amputated when I was in my teens.
Being incredibly close to her, I did a lot of caregiving from an early age.
She was courageous and fearless.
Did I try to keep her from doing things that might be dangerous to an older woman who only had one leg.
Yep, you bet I did.
However, she often won, and did what she wanted. Sometimes to was easier to help her safely do want she wanted instead of fighting her.
One of the biggest challenges of caregiving is finding the right balance between providing the care someone needs while also allowing them to maintain their independence.
It’s a lesson my grandmother had to teach me over and over again.
Doing things for our loved ones, is normally done with the best intentions, but as caregivers we can often get into our own heads about what we think they need.
Here are some tips to help you keep your family members independent while also providing caregiving to them.
First it's important to communicate with your loved one and ask them what they want. They may have specific ideas about how they want to be cared for, and it's important to respect their wishes as much as possible. You can also work together to come up with a plan that meets both of your needs.
I know this is easier said than done. I’m still not perfect at it myself, even though I had years of experience with my Grandma. Do the best you can.
Another key to keeping your loved one independent is to encourage them to do as much as they can for themselves. This may mean providing them with tools or equipment that make tasks easier, or simply giving them the time and space they need to do things on their own. It's important to strike a balance between helping them and allowing them to maintain their dignity and autonomy.
Even when you can do it faster and more efficiently. Being a Caregiver is an ongoing lesson in patience. And there will be days you patience is tested.
When you feel your anger and frustration coming to the surface and it will, walk away, even for a minute or two. Ideally if you can take a longer break, take it, but realistically I know that isn’t always possible.
My Gram, taught me a lot, including how to do caregiving and letting her be independent.
Do I still sometimes get it wrong with my Mom? Yep, but that is also part of the process.
There is no such thing a perfect caregiver. You do the best you can do, on any given day. And give yourself grace on days that are hard.