The person you care for is in fact an individual. Yes, a clean home and groceries are important, but so are social relationships and intimacy. Maintaining a relationship that is not just about caregiving is important for both you and the person you care for.
During the time of Covid, social isolation is the thing, especially for the high risk and you are probably taking care of a person who fits within that category. For care receivers, this can be an extremely lonely time. Family isn’t visiting as often, or friends may be isolating themselves. You may be the only other person they interact with during this time. You may be able to go out to the store, the park or take a walk for a break. But the person you care for is probably very much isolated. You are most likely feeling the pressure to be caregiver superstar during a pandemic, but don’t forget about the fact that you are in a relationship.
Finding a hobby, a television show, a dining experience that you can enjoy together can foster good feelings within a relationship that can, at times, be full of tension, unmet needs and unspoken words.
Grandpa and I like to watch Love and Hip Hop together, for example. He likes to look at the girls with their “wild hair and makeup,” and I am here for the drama. The moments before the show I may be changing his ostomy bag, cleaning up dog poop or making a grocery/supply list. But for that 1 hour, we are hanging out and he is not a receiver of my care. He is just my grandpa and we are just watching terribly amazing TV together.
Personally, the most difficult thing for me during this 1 hour, is my anxiety about everything that needs to get done. I become very aware of the trash that needs to be taken out or the fact that his dog needs her nails trimmed. I wonder what my kid is doing and if my husband is “watching her” using his ears and not his eyes. If I allow it to, my anxiety will overwhelm me and I miss the opportunity to just be in the moment. For some of us, we can’t afford to miss these moments.
If you struggle with mindfulness try using these 3 affirmations:
“The (insert chore, task, etc.) will be there when Love and Hip Hop Miami is done.”
“I am (watching, doing, etc.) right now, which is where I need to be and what I need to be doing.”
“These are the moments I will remember and these are the moments I will miss.”
You are more than a caregiver and the person you care for, is more than just a receiver of your services. You are two people trying to figure out how to navigate a relationship.