AVOID BEING A LOST LOVE STATISTIC
Alarmingly, over 50% of all current caregivers lose their love and affection for their patient. This should not be happening, but, according to a major recent study for 56% of all caregivers, it is. (3) Real love, constant love, can help change that. Love insures tasks are made lighter, work made less difficult, and long hours made more manageable. But, despite the caregiver’s lessening affection, they carry on, doing the best they can because they said they would.
The Driving Emotion - Love is the driving emotion that could make the most difference in the attitude, motivation and relationship of caregivers and their loved ones. But if love is lost the tasks become extremely trying. That doesn’t have to be. Regardless of how caregivers are thrust into the current care giving situation, they can still self-generate love for their patient. Love can strengthen everyone. If, in a loving relationship such as marriage, love is the answer and romance is the process. If not married, caregivers can still offer tender and loving service. In either case, love is the path to joyful satisfaction.
Is the Love Actually Gone? – For everyone, the degree to which love has been altered in a caregiving relationship, will be different. I have read a number of disturbing stories recounting that the caregivers’ love is just simply gone in their relationship with their loved ones. I am wondering, if it is gone, where did it go? Love is an emotion of considerable substance. It is very unlikely that love is actually gone. More likely it has been suppressed to a condition of denial. It is generally believed that love can be emotionally placed in hiding. It will not come out of hiding unless the individual decides to make it appear.
The Physicality of Caregiving - Most caregivers did not expect the physical extremity of their new care giving. In the beginning the love for their loved one, or previous relationship, was strong enough that the physical tasks were bearable. Then, as time wore on, the physicality of those tasks had an overwhelmingly, suffocating effect on their affection. The affection began to suffer, the feelings of love began to erode, and they were left with their responsibilities but not enough emotional love to support the burden of their work.
The Emotional Stresses of Caregiving - In addition to the physical challenges, the emotional challenges seem to be even more daunting. Not enough gratitude, unreturned affection, vocal abuse, and a sense of loneliness all combined to leave the caregivers forever trapped in a helpless situation they couldn’t avoid. Because the emotional stress was even greater than the physical stress those issues dominate the caregivers thinking and feelings. Either way there were just too many bad circumstances that seemed impossible for them to bear. A few felt there was no one to hear their cries for help, others felt they could not continue their care giving.
Discuss Critical Items With Loved One – It is difficult to imagine a solid human relationship without verbal communication. That is difficult for some individuals but the difficulty doesn’t make it less important. Think of all the things that could be discussed that would draw partners in any relationship closer together. To name a few: intimacy, physical relations, attitudes, parental guidance, religion, use of time, children, family travel, use of money, retirement, large purchases, location of residence, love for each other, personal habits, health, living wills, conventional wills, end of life issues and many more. There is no end to important matters to be discussed and each one bringing two caring partners, closer together as they are bonded with the trust and common understanding stemming from those discussions. If it doesn’t come easy at first, it still can successfully come.
Final Thought – The relationship between the caregiver and the loved one is paramount for developing and improving a hopeful and happy life. Relationships are perhaps the most important thing (without exaggeration) when it comes to overall life satisfaction, at least for most people. Having a close group of people in your life can keep you happy for life (it can also help you live longer). And no relationship is more important than the one with your loved patient. It should be cultivated. You will be happier and your loved one will be happier in direct proportion to the love and tender caring you provide. Happiness is earned. When happiness is earned, life gets better and, according to experts, lasts longer.