Please enjoy this series showing the challenges facing caregivers at different stages in the caregiving process. The full credits for this article are at the bottom, thanks.
Stage 6: The Godspeed Caregiver
My caregiving has ended.
Who are you?
Your role as caregiver ended more than two years ago. You find yourself compelled to make a difference in the lives of other caregivers. You share information readily with caregivers in the earlier stages, or you start a business dedicated to helping family caregivers, or you find a job in which you assist family caregivers. And, you treasure each relationship you have in your life, recognizing that each day, and your health, should never be taken for granted.
Your Keyword: Treasure
–Treasure your dreams;
–Treasure your challenges which led to your opportunities and new skills;
–Treasure your opportunities to share lessons learned;
–Treasure memories of your care recipient.
To implement your lessons learned from your role as caregiver, from your care recipient and from your family members and friends. During this stage, which can last as long you wish–even your lifetime–you reap the benefits of your efforts.
As a “Godspeed Caregiver”, what can you do?
1. Follow your dreams.
Make your goals your achievements.
2. Family caregivers will look to you as a mentor and leader.
Allow caregivers in earlier stages the same freedom to stumble and steady themselves that you had. All worthwhile journeys have trips and wrong turns; the journeys become meaningful as we learn from our mis-steps.
Share your experiences with expectant caregivers, freshman caregivers, entrenched caregivers and pragmatic caregivers. They can learn from you! (Many of the books, web sites, audio tapes and videos which helped you along your journey were developed by Godspeed Caregivers. !)
3. Treasure the memories you have of your care recipient.
Continue to remember your care recipient regularly through rituals, such as enjoying an ice cream cone in her honor on her birthday, or by planting trees in her name. Reading and reviewing your diary will be a great way to remember.
Of course, your best memorial to your care recipient’s memory is a life you build for yourself filled with healthy relationships, productive careers and joy and laughter.
Excerpted from www.caregiving.com: The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey, a handbook for family caregivers by Denise M. Brown.