Stages Of Being A Caregiver

Original Publishing Date: December 4, 2013
Publisher: The Caregiver Space
Author: Adrienne Gruberg

“Looking back on my career as a caregiver, I marvel at the number of levels of care…..remembering how at every level I’d say to myself, “I can’t take this stress much longer.”

Adrienne Gruberg shares her story of being a primary caregiver to her husband and reveals the stages that a caregiver goes through in their journey of caregiving for their loved one. The first level was the realization where she sensed that something was wrong and her husband was required to go to the hospital. The acknowledgment of the responsibility that will fall on a caregiver’s head concerning another’s life. The second level involves waiting patiently for test results. A caregiver is constantly on edge during this waiting period as they hope for the best now knowing what the tests will reveal. The next level is getting unexpected news, In Adrienne’s case  she was told that her husband had been detected with lung cancer. The caregiver is hit with the news that they are not prepared for and their next train of thought requires them to prepare for the future.

A caregiver is plagued with a constant stream of thoughts and dread at having to do this alone and the inability to confide their fear with their loved one. Their minds are programmed to think of worst-case scenarios and answers to questions which they do not possess which further stresses them out. Adrienne believes that making charts and planners and researching the condition can help one feel more prepared. The next level involves getting used to the new normal and trying  to do a balancing act and at the same time, taking care of oneself too.

“Caregiver stress will never be a non-issue….. examining exactly what you can do will help you keep it in check.”

This is followed by the anticipatory grief that the caregiver undergoes as it dawns upon them that their loved one has limited time left. They mourn for the life that once existed or the anticipated demise of the loved one. Throughout it all, they try their best to conceal their feelings. However, it is important to come to terms with these feelings. This can be done by attending therapy or as in Adrienne’s case by journaling. By writing down her feelings at the end of the day, it helped her cope better with the situation.

The last level is coping with the grief of losing the loved one. Adrienne emphasizes that there is no fixed period for grieving and each person is different. She concludes by saying that it is okay to move on without feeling guilty.

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