Managing expectations as a caregiver is important to practice with the person you are caring for, for yourself, and with your circle of formal care. During this time, there are increased concerns related to challenges such as a reduction of formal services that caregivers rely on for support, worry and anxiety about getting tests and bloodwork done, and other changing expectations in many other aspects.
Staying focused on the things we can control and taking care of our own well being is so very important.
Ask yourself: “what’s one thing (big or small) that you think you can do today or tomorrow to continue support you, as a person and as a caregiver”.
Essential Services: The Current Situation
- These are unprecedented times for the health care system and we are pivoting as more data comes in around COVID-19 and the impact of physical distancing and the timing of changing policies
- Essential Services are mandated by government and it affects all levels of health care and social services. The longer this period goes on, the harder it is to maintain current level of services
- Some care recipients and caregivers are receiving a reduction in services, holding off on certain assessments, no longer being able to receive volunteer services, having to increasingly wait for calls to be returned
- For those who are palliative and end of life, there is the ability and protocol to provide care
- Health care professionals are also feeling very stressed about not being able to do enough for the people under their care
How to Manage Your Expectations
- As the availability and expectations of services change, give yourself permission to take a break: move your body, listen to music, look out the window, meditate, practice yoga, read a book, etc.
- Give yourself permission to care for yourself as your body and mind process the change. This will help you navigate these difficult and unexpected shifts as you stay grounded
- Think about the must-dos in your day and assign them using E.N.D (energizing, neutral, draining). Then decide how to approach them based on your energy levels
- Redefine “what I think successful caring” looks like during this time to shift your perspective- take time to journal and reflect
- Reflect on the worst case scenario and best case scenario to discover the middle ground of what can we live with and what is acceptable
Reach Out for Support
- If you are concerned about the person you are caring for and/or for yourself, it’s important to reach out to your health care team and/or volunteer organization
- Be patient. It will likely take longer to hear back from them. You may need to call more than once
- It never hurts to ask- ask for the support you need even if you are told it might not be honoured. It ensures you are doing everything possible
- Brainstorm with others- by pooling together the thoughts of others and talking it out, you can process, get creative and discover solutions that you might not have come up with on your own
A Collective Voice
- There is a movement that is gaining momentum and awareness across Canada regarding visiting policies in hospitals. Follow the hashtag #notjustavisitor on social media to check it out.
- Stay up to date on our COVID-19 page for our regular update
Family Caregivers of BC Support and Resources
If you are looking for more reading on caregiving expectations and the personal transformation we experience, Donna Thomson has a wonderful story to share and she couples it with evidence-based
Call the Family Caregivers of BC Support line Toll Free at 1-877-520-3267, Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 7 pm. We can support you based on your unique needs, help bring awareness into your situation, listen to you, suggest ideas and resources.
Tune into our podcast Caregivers Out Loud to connect, learn and listen to stories and experiences from others caregivers.