Could This Help In Your Caregiving Relationships?

We’ve just reached the 6 month anniversary of my mother’s death. Of course that got me thinking, reflecting on life in general and my mother’s final months in particular. I think if I’d had to be her full time caregiver I’d have gone stark raving mad. I’ve seen daughters and sons lovingly take care of their parents’ every need. I’ve been amazed by these adult children, I’ve admired them, but I’ve never wanted to join them in caregiving. The family joke is that I don’t actually work. I only get jobs that just require talking. Someone else has to do the heavy lifting, the dirty work, the daily things that keep a household or a life going.

My parents lived independently in their own home until about 9 months before my father’s death. They had moved into an independent living apartment in a Continuing Care Retirement Community when my dad’s health declined, then my mother moved into an assisted living apartment a few months after his death. After a few hospitalizations and some time in the skilled nursing unit, she returned to her assisted living apartment with hospice care and a full time live-in aide. Most of the time Mom loved the aide, but there were days when I almost expected the aide to walk off the job rather than endure the verbal tirade her charge would direct at her. When I was on the receiving end of the tirade I was glad to “have to go now.”

Some days I thought I needed a good shrink. Other days I could just remind myself that Mom had lost her independence, her joy in living, and not take things personally. Never did I think to ask my yoga instructor for help in managing my relationship with my mother. Right now my yoga teacher is in India for a month so I’m using internet resources for my practice. I came upon this article¬†http://www.yogainternational.com/article/view/a-caregivers-guide-to-compassion and thought it would be helpful to people still actively providing care for a family member. Of course, it helps if you already practice yoga. If not, maybe it’s time to start. Taking care of yourself makes you more able to take care of others.

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