There is no one-size-fits-all approach to caregiving. Every family caregiver must be free to make choices that work best for their unique situation. Even then, the available options aren’t always ideal. In this demanding role, we must acknowledge the reality of our individual situation and give it our noblest effort. Unfortunately, with other family members, friends, elder care professionals, fellow caregivers, and the public looking on, it isn’t uncommon to receive a harsh word or two while we juggle these difficult responsibilities. Being human, I suppose we all second-guess others’ choices from time to time, at least silently. However, when we do that, we should remind ourselves that it’s likely we do not have enough information to cast judgment. No matter how similar a caregiving situation may seem to your own or someone else’s, it’s important to remember that we have never truly walked in another’s shoes.
A Caregiver’s Experience Facing Criticism: As a caregiver for multiple elders, I’ve received my share of criticism. At one point in my journey, I was providing some type of care to five elders in three different locations, as well as caring for my two young children. Still, there were those who felt that I should have provided for my elders in my own home. Of course, these comments didn’t come from people who were familiar with my family’s complete situation. They were casual onlookers providing unsolicited “advice.”
Those who knew of the complexities I was coping with understood that I needed to hire the help of outside care providers. I was fortunate to be able to arrange in-home care and placement at a terrific nursing home for my aging loved ones as their needs increased. Doing so didn’t make me less of a caregiver. It merely made me different from a friend of mine who moved her aging mother into her home.
Caregiving situations are simply too diverse, complicated, and emotionally charged for others to pass judgment on. Not to mention there is a serious learning curve involved when it comes to taking on the care of an aging family member.
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer
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