Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Being a Caregiver - Passing on the Decision-Making


No child ever wants their parents to get old. When they do, it's a shock, no matter how old you are. But when they  need to be taken care of a little bit, your whole world is turned upside down. However, there is a moment when you know they not only do they need help doing chores, they need help making major decisions. That precise moment is not only hard to comprehend at first, but you grow up quicker than you ever imagined.

My mother's health has been declining for quite a while, and a couple of days ago, I made the comment that when me, my father, and twin sister are together, I am the decision-maker of the group. Her response floored me, and I've been mulling it over ever since then.

My mother said, "Yes, you are. I can't handle the stress of major decisions anymore. I'm going to need your help with that now.". So I asked, "So it's like passing the torch.". Her nod said it all. I think my sister's new diagnosis of a rare eye condition called Uveitis had some to do with the passing of the torch.

After it hit me that I will be deciding on things I never imagined I would, I didn't know how to feel. The woman that had been so strong ever since I can remember is now asking my help for the big things, and it kind of makes me scared. What if I screw up something?  What if I make the wrong decision? A lot of "what-ifs" tumbled through my mind. I hardly slept, but I woke up the next morning ready to take on my new role in the family - not only as a daughter and sister, but as master decision-maker. It was a scary feeling, but also necessary.

When you're a caregiver and they pass off the making of almost every major decision off to you, it's okay to feel panicked for a few minutes. Once you've calmed down, take a moment to remember that they trust you. Then sit down,  write out questions or concerns you have, and talk to them.

Sometimes it turns out that the biggest of your fears and worries were not as big as you thought it was. (Trust me on this.)

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