You have come a long way as a planning partner and champion. You have talked with your loved one, helped them plan in a way that empowers them and paved the way for their aging experience in the setting they envision. You worked together to organize teams that put supports into place. And you managed to do all of these things while still setting realistic limits and taking care of yourself.
One thing is certain – things will not happen as you hope they will or as you planned for. Don’t beat yourself up. You simply cannot plan for every bump in the road along the way.
Use your planning as a road map – at this point you and you loved one have put the pieces in place to honor their wishes so you can rest confident that together you have done the best you can. If the need does arise, use your knowledge as a foundation for making the choices to best represent the wishes of your loved one—and both advocate for and give them every opportunity to be involved in care, residential and daily living decisions. Seek professional help when you need to - for your loved one, and especially for yourself.
Championing and caring for a loved one is not a time-limited activity – it is one that will shape you, your future, and your memories of the past. Know caregiving for another is a gift you give someone you care about.
No matter what happens – your support made a difference in someone’s life. Be gentle in your critique of how things could be better or different and give yourself and your team credit for all you have done. Celebrate the progress you made and honor your loved one, all you have done to help them. The world is a better place with caregivers like you, who care.
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