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Natural Support for Caregivers

There are so many families managing illnesses of loved ones every day. From temporary needs to long term, both physical and mental, many people become the primary caregiver of their spouse, parent, child and more during illnesses and diseases where healing happens at home. The role of the caregiver is a lonely, isolating, exhausting, strenuous and stressful labor of love that is also frustrating and overwhelming. There are plenty of tears, moments of laughter, and prayers of hope, every day. Then there are the moments of deep breakdowns and heartbreak in the shower covered by the sound of the water and closed door because you have to be the strong one but inside you simply don’t know if you can do it much longer or what the future will look like.

Taking on the care for a loved one, making the hard decisions and carrying on with daily life is something no one is ever prepared to do. Even at first you think you are, trust me you’re not. The amount of energy alone is underestimated. I certainly wasn’t prepared for it in the least and thought it wouldn’t be that big a deal and I could push through it. There were a lot of things I didn’t know would be expected or needed or what it would do to my own health and well-being along the way.

It is always the right thing do to and yet it is one of the toughest jobs there is.

What caregiving looks like vs. reality

On the surface, many make it look easy. They look like angels, heroes and magicians. The person they are caring for is well-taken care of and is in the best of hands. There is love, positivity, encouragement, chicken soup and magazines. You can feel the caring and devotion being poured into this person in need. It is beautiful and humbling.

Honestly, looking at some of these situations you would never know anything was stressful or overwhelming to these caregivers. This is the stuff of cards and well-wishing that makes it seem it is all done with ease and no one ever gets short tempered from being tired. It is what you want if you are in need of care. That feeling of trust, love and dependence on another that you can focus entirely on healing and recovery because someone has you taken care of.

Under it all though I promise you is exhaustion, stress, worry, concern, sleepless nights and lots of coffee. The late nights, early mornings, prepping for the next day, middle of the night needs, medication to keep straight, assistance dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. Even if you do nurse work as a full time job, it is different when it is your person, your loved one. It is your home, this is your spouse, child, family member who you are used to seeing active. There is a new level of need that is different than the needs we have when we are well. It is smelly, raw and challenging. It is the stuff you need to hold back from gagging on when you uncover the bandages and need to clean the wounds.