ParentingOurParents invites you to celebrate National Family Caregiver Month during this month of November.
One way to celebrate is to thank at least one (and maybe many more) family caregivers for their contributions to someone who is aging, ill, or disabled.
Another way to celebrate is to notice that we have become a nation of caregivers. Currently there are 53 million Americans (out of 355) serving as family caregivers to a family member, friend, or neighbor. This work and the life challenges that the process of caregiving seems to require can be very affirming for all involved. It can, and often is, also brutally overwhelming. I’ve written of the many caregivers who actually pre-decease their loved ones for whom they have been laboring so generously.
And perhaps a third way to celebrate is to consider where you are in the life cycle of caregiving: Is it years away from your having aging or ill parents? Decades away, you think, from needing caregiving yourself? Or, realistically, something you just might want to contemplate more carefully.
Especially if you’ve been diagnosed with some disorder and/or if you’re over say 60, you might start by asking yourself:
What are the many ways you would like to be taken care of when/if you ever get the chance?
And once you’ve gotten to contemplating what all that is, your next self-inquiry might be:
When might I consider sharing my wishes in their entirety – with those people most likely to be caring for me in the future?
And what is the most efficient and likely way to communicate how you wish to be cared for/treated/considered/talked to/housed/ and even how you might wish eventually to even have the end of your life. The answer is: To write that down in a document that you then give to your loved ones and use as the basis for a talk together.
This document is called a Health Care Proxy. For example, you could say: “If I become terminally ill, I do/don’t want to receive the following treatments… If I am in a coma or unconscious, with no hope of recovery, then I do/don’t want… speak and there is no hope that my condition will improve, I do/don’t want …” You can find such documents which you fill in for free online for the state where you live.
Having a Health Care Proxy is a wonderful way to consider for yourself and then clearly communicate to your loved ones how you wish to be cared for in the future. Doing this can be an opportunity to succeed in working together and bringing forth the best of love, mutual respect and good will which is what National Family Caregiver Month is all about.
Please let us know how this may have been of help to you by sharing it and commenting below.