Lots of people who are about to become caregivers want to know what normal is for caregiving. It would be great if there were one map or flowchart that everyone could follow, but unfortunately normal is different for every caregiver and every caregiving situation.
Every Situation Is Different
It might feel obvious, but every single caregiving situation is different. Every aging adult has different health needs and may be willing to accept different levels of help. you may know several people who have been where you are, but their experiences may not necessarily help to prepare you for your own caregiving experience.
Sometimes Normal Itself Changes
Even when you start to feel as if you know what normal is when it comes to your own caregiving situation, remember that normal can change literally overnight. Your senior may have a health crisis or her needs in other ways may change rapidly. When that happens, your entire idea of what normal is for you and for her can shift in big ways.
You’re Going to Experience Emotions You Don’t Expect
You probably tend to experience positive, happy emotions when it comes to your aging adult. But when you’re deep into caregiving, it’s easy to start feeling frustrated, angry, and even resentful from time to time. You’ll probably also feel guilty for having those very human emotions. None of these are going to fit in with the definition of normal that most caregivers are likely to use. You might start to feel as if you’re far from normal unless you talk with other caregivers honestly about how you’re feeling.
You May Want to Step Away at Some Point
At some stage, you might even find that you want to stop being a caregiver for a while or for good. This can be a surprising moment for caregivers, especially when their aging adult still needs help. But you may not be able to keep meeting your elderly family member’s needs indefinitely. Your own health could change, keeping you from doing all that you want to do. This can also be a very normal part of the caregiving journey.
Being a caregiver is rewarding and allows you to be there for your family member, but it may not be what you expect. Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself as well as your aging adult in order to give both of you the best experience possible.