It is an enormous responsibility. It takes huge amounts of time and patience. It can be physically and mentally strenuous. But serving as a caregiver for a dying family member can be a blessing.
At Hope Hospice we work closely with our patients’ caregivers, providing support and encouragement as well as information and guidance.
The caregiving time, whether a few days or a few months, allows for closeness to a degree that both parties may not have experienced before. The time when death is approaching can lead to surprising candor and even unexpected revelations.
A caregiver can feel that his or her mission is a thankless one. When other family members and even the patient neglect to offer an occasional thank you, the caregiver can become frustrated and resentful. It takes a strong character to realize that yours is special role and you are a special person for accepting the role. (Even if you had little choice.)
Most of us, during our lives, have few extended periods of selflessness that caregivers provide. The challenges of caregiving are immense. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others, including other family members, your church community and good friends. Remember also, as you take care of the patient, it is important for you to maintain your own good health.
When the demands of caregiving become overwhelming, take comfort in knowing that your hospice team members are standing by to help. When problems arise hospice professionals will work to lead you to the right solutions.
For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.