Friday, November 15, 2013

Guest Blogger: Margery Pabst- CAREGIVING: 3 Common Mistakes

November is National Caregivers Month, an appropriate time to reflect on our roles as caregivers, and a time to look forward to creating even more quality days and moments for ourselves and our loved ones.
If we work on improving three common mistakes, we can achieve more of those quality moments!

First, don’t avoid your feelings.  Keep in touch with your emotional self as you care for others and communicate those feelings directly and as candidly as possible.  It’s common to stifle your feelings and focus only on the needs and emotions of loved ones and family. 

As a caregiver, the situation you face is emotional and charged with underlying stress.  First get in touch with yourself, and expressing your fears, doubts, and needs is the first step.  Some tips to consider are:  Use statements like, “I am scared about the future” or “I feel so much pressure”, or “I am concerned about making a mistake with the medication.”  Your open acknowledgement will encourage others to be helpful and to be honest with you.  Encouraging your patient/care partner to express open and honest feelings is also healthy and helps you both to forge an even deeper relationship.

Second, don’t avoid dealing with family conflict.  Identifying problems early and dealing with them directly is the best plan.  A family conflict can cost everyone heartache, productivity, and money and rob the family of those quality days.
A strong foundation for dealing with family conflicts will exist if everyone shares feelings, concerns, and needs openly and honestly.  If the caregiver sets the stage for the exchange of ideas, a higher probability for success in saving time, money, and hurt feelings will result.  Some tips for dealing with family conflict:
  • keep everyone informed.
  • have frequent meetings/gatherings.
  • seek common agreements before dealing with disagreements.

Third, don’t do everything yourself.  Build your caregiving community from your network of family, then friends, and then community and professional contacts.
Caregivers, particularly those dealing with chronic illness, can easily wear themselves out and it is a mistake to go it alone.  Other people may complete your tasks in a different way than you might, but let your feelings about “doing everything a certain way” go and roll with the flow.  Some tips for letting others help:
  • begin with one trusted person and delegate a few, specific tasks.
  • slowly develop a wider circle of friends, family, and community members to take on appropriate roles.
  • write down your successes as others help you in your caregiving role.
  • make sure to include professionals like attorneys, accountants, and spiritual advisors in your community circle.

Finally, always keep the goal in mind–creating quality moments and quality days for you and your loved ones.  Have a wonderful November and Happy Caregivers Month!

Margery Pabst is the author of “Words of Care”, her most recent book found on,, and  “Words of Care” is her fourth book on life transitions.  Margery is eCareDiary’s caregiving expert and the host of two BlogTalkRadio shows, Caregivers Speak! and Caregiver and Physician Conversations, sponsored by

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