As we ride on this journey called life, there are easy smooth roads and there are also bumpy hills and at times low valleys requiring us to cope. While we have joyful experiences, we also tackle losses and adversities. This is definitely the case for family members of adults living with chronic illness. In these cases spouses, daughters and sons react to the changes brought on by the conditions of their family members' illness. Many of the reactions include sadness, anger, and fear. While these spouses, daughters and sons are reacting, they also have a new role bestowed on them - the caregiving role.
The level of assistance provided to chronically ill family members may be light, middle or heavy weight depending on the amount of time spent, the amount of caregiving required, as well as other factors. I created a questionnaire so that family members can assess for themselves if they are carrying too heavy a load so they may seek out ways to lighten their load.
Click here for the questionnaire to acknowledge and assess your level :
Are you a Light, Middle or Heavy Weight™Caregiver?
With illnesses such as Parkinson's, MS, Stroke, Alzheimer's and other dementias, the care required may start light, getting heavier over time. Over 80% of the care falls upon the family, not by choice but rather by obligation. Their reaction points them in the direction of coping with a 'New Normal'. I am using this term New Normal' because I have so often heard the circumstances described this way from the mouths of actual family caregivers. You cannot get more authentic than that.
So how does one cope? Can they deal with the "New Normal"? Do they have a choice? I would say there is very little choice. The family members of the chronically ill are faced with a dilemma. When we acknowledge and assess any dilemma, we are required to cope with it. Plain and simple. Coping is required in response to the losses and adversities that upset our lives. Plain and simple. What is not plain and simple is how we cope. We may cope very well in some situations but very poorly in other situations.
For those having difficulty, how can you assist yourself and develop your coping abilities? Raising self-awareness, an open mind and motivation to make changes that will lead to better coping ability will help. Also, do not wait until you burned out. Be proactive and save yourself much distress.
Keep in mind..It is a Strength, Not a Weakness to seek out ways to Cope Better.
Assistance is available - Y o u A r e N o t A l o n e !