Providing support to a senior with loss of autonomy involves tasks and activities of all kinds, including those related to health. As a caregiver, you are regularly called to interact with workers from the health sector. With life's numerous everyday preoccupations, in addition to the discomfort that a meeting with a health professional can sometimes cause, you may end up feeling overwhelmed, and that's normal.
This month, we have put together some tips to assist you and foster your well-being in this aspect of your role.
- Keep a journal so you can jot down your questions, comments, concerns and worries in anticipation of the next meeting, etc.
- Identify a time of the day or the week during which you feel more amenable to participating in a meeting with a health professional who works with your loved one.
- Give yourself a moment before and/or after the meeting to relax (breathe calmly, call a friend, do a pleasant activity, etc.).
- Inform one or more people in your close circle of this meeting so that they can offer you their support (before or after).
- Do not hesitate to openly share your emotions, worries, preferences and expectations. Encourage your loved one to do the same.
- If you feel uncomfortable discussing certain issues related to your loved one's situation when he or she is right there, do not hesitate to contact the professional before or after the meeting to clarify certain information.
- Set aside a time when you can name your emotions, express your fears and share your insecurities. Caregiver Support is a confidential, professional and free service where you will find someone to listen attentively, provide information and refer you to resources.
And that is just a starting point! Remember that you have many hidden, untapped resources and skills that are just waiting to be developed. Also remember that your closeness to your loved one makes you a special witness to what he or she is experiencing and, as a result, you possess information that is difficult for health professionals to know. Health professionals have their expertise and you have yours, which is just as valuable.