Letter to a caregiver:
I am sorry to hear of your family members diagnosis. You have a long road ahead of you. I do not envy you. You have just entered a marathon, not a sprint. There will be long days and nights. 24 hours in a day will not be enough sometimes. You will wish for many things: patience, serenity, more time and sleep to name just a few.
Please remember that there are many people who are willing to help. You need to be willing to ask. You may also need to learn how to ask. When someone calls and says, “Just let me know what you need” your first thought may be “I need to get away from here” or “I do not have the time to figure out what I need”.
I suggest you begin by making a list of everything that you do every day. Yes, I know this is just one more thing that you will need to do in a day. Keep a pad in a central location and every time you pass by it write down the things that you have done since you passed by it the last time. Do it as you go so you will not forget anything. Include everything, including the times you go to the bathroom. This seems silly, but it is still, technically, things you need to complete every day. At the end of the week look at all the items. Put a mark next to the ones you need to do yourself (like going to the bathroom). Put a different color mark next to the ones that someone else can do. The “Someone Else” list may be things like food shopping, walking the dog, preparing a meal, sitting with your family member to watch TV.
The next time I call and ask about what you need, please read something off the list. Give me a couple choices. You never know what or how many items I can take off the list for you. I might even be able to get a group of people together and we can all attack the list. Many hands make for little work. Asking does not mean you are weak, don’t care or aren’t able to take good care of your loved one. It really means the opposite. It means you are interested in doing everything you can in the best way possible.
Do not forget to take care of yourself. You are the most important part of this race. If something happens to you, what will happen to your loved one? Who will provide or oversee their care? Do not be afraid to tell us when it becomes overwhelming. Sometimes calling in professionals may also be beneficial. Ask their opinion. Ask for advice. You will make the final decision, but it will be an informed decision.
We love you and want you to be well and stay well and enjoy the time you have with your loved one. All time is precious. You will look back at some point and be very glad you did what you did and the way you did it. Be proud of the commitment you have made. We are all proud of you.
With Love and Respect,
Your many friends
Brook Health Care, LLC
200 Clark St
Chapin, SC 29036
7 W. Lakewood Ave.
Milltown, NJ 08850
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