By Missy Athmer, Marketing Director

I want to share that I know, as a family caregiver, fear often travels on my shoulder. I don’t want to be as flip as to say that you will never experience fear, but to remind you that fear is just an emotion. One that can be calmed if we learn how to cope and find balance with situations that evoke our fears.

There are certain things likely to happen to you as a family caregiver that you will not be able to control. What we can help you with is to identify and encourage what you CAN control. Let that be your response to the fear that may inevitably creep into your life.

One way to gain some control is to visualize the situations that may cause you potential fear and then plan out possible responses:

  • Fear of talking with other family members about the support you need from them as the family caregiver.
  • Advocating for your loved one’s medical care and fear of telling your loved one’s physician you think you want a second opinion.
  • Fear of losing yourself or not finding some time for yourself in your life as a family caregiver.
  • Fear of a non-cooperative loved one and negotiating their daily living, well-being and yours. I am sure there are many more we could list!

Take a breath. Now visualize yourself in these situations. How would you imagine they respond? Now think about how you would counter each response. Your proper preparation puts you in control of the situation and of your fear.

You can also talk with one of our Dementia Care Specialists and your friends in your support group. Those folks can help you through the most fearful parts of caregiving. St. John’s Community Care has many family caregiver support options for you to consider and we are here when you need us!

Prepare for the very worst thing you think could happen due to the upcoming interaction. It probably is an exaggeration of reality, but at least you are the one in the situation over-prepared for whatever could happen. And the relief is massive when the worst case does not materialize.

Apply mindfulness, so you are better positioned for success. How are you feeling when visualizing these interactions? Are you tense with teeth clenched? Shoulders tightened? Learn to relax your body, smile and let God’s grace and the sunshine in.

Have a clear plan of what you need, especially if you ask family members to help. Need more ideas and support? Just call 618-344-5008!