Caregiving is a difficult and very personal journey! One person to the next doesn't do it in the same way. I have spoken to to 1000's of families and although similar, each persons circumstance and their journey is still different.
Top five caregiving mistakes that should be avoided!
1. Allowing family dynamics to interfere with care.
Family conflict is difficult to navigate, but that should not be a factor when you are caring for a loved one. This happens in many different situations from child care to eldercare. The take away here, the person receiving care, needs to come above their decision-makers.
2. Fearing end-of-life planning.
Many seniors do not want to discuss anything to do with the possibility of them dying. “I’m going out feet first” or “That’s not going to happen to me” are common phrases I’ve heard. Just because you don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it won’t happen however. Ignoring the inevitable will only cause more stress and most likely a crisis situation.
3. Not completing medical and legal documents.
Documents like wills, power of attorneys, and advance directives will not only make your lives easier when your loved one passes away but they also protect their property and can help keep family money out of the hands of the government in taxes. Additionally, making sure everyone knows who has POA will be helpful when the power of attorney needs to be put into action and limits the guessing game and surprises.
4. Remaining ignorant, on purpose.
If you think something might be going on with the health of your loved ones and don’t say anything, you may be endangering them as well as adding a lot of unnecessary stress to your life. This goes for anyone you are caring for whether it's your child who may have something going on with them that they can't express or your senior parents who might be in denial of their changing life circumstances.
5. Not listening to the person who requires care.
It’s their body, they should have a say. Now, take this with a grain of salt because someone who has significant cognitive impairment will not be able to make sound decisions, nor will a young child, but they should still be heard and acknowledged. As for everyone else, they need to have the option to weigh in. Something I see a lot are independent seniors wanting to make a move to a retirement community because they are lonely, have nutrition difficulties, or are feeling isolated. Their families often discourage these moves because “mom you’re too young for a seniors home.” Remember, the decision belongs to the one who is deciding.
The other circumstance I see frequently are when young children are trying to learn how to voice their opinions and needs and their caregiver is dismissive instead of allowing them the space they need.
As you can see, it is really important to include the person you are caring for in decisions that will ultimately affect them. If done in a respectful manner, they will feel heard and often the caregiver will feel less guilty and more at peace.