Chapter 2: All in the family
All in this together
We tried to work it out so my brothers would come in and take a turn with Dad. One had a young family at home, and one had to constantly fly across the country for his work. But between the two of them, I did get an occasional break.
When you are trying to manage as a family, there is a lot to consider. Decisions that may include treatment options, medications, caregiving scheduling, meals, and home maintenance. Taking a practical and proactive approach can help. Roll your mouse over each of the boxes below for some considerations for being practical and proactive.
Ask questions such as:
“How can we work together as a team?”
“Who is willing and able to help?”
Pause before responding and ask
“Is this how we want to use our energy, especially our emotional energy?”
Below are two more strategies that may help you and your family as you work through the initial diagnosis and progression of the disease.
Allow everyone to express thoughts and feelings
Often, we don’t feel we have choices, and we think often in “shoulds”: “I should do this” or “I should do that.” We feel we need to be strong and not break down. It’s important to respect everyone’s unique ways of coping, but acting as if you are always in control takes a lot of energy. Similarly, keeping a positive attitude has many benefits, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t also express upsetting thoughts and feelings.
Try to keep expectations realistic
Managing in this challenging time often forces us to examine our expectations. We need to recognize that everything has changed. Caregivers tend to keep going without recognizing that the demands of the situation require a different approach. It’s important to give yourself permission to take care of yourself.Helpful resources