When Did You Become a Caregiver

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I don't think you ever really know exactly when you became a caregiver.  You would always help the elderly neighbor bring in her groceries.  You brought your grandfather to the doctor's.  You helped your mother do the laundry.

However there was a particular day when your role changed from "helper" to caregiver.  You probably did not even realize it was happening, but as you think back you might recognize the shift in roles.  Let me tell you there is a HUGE difference between helping someone you care about vs caregiving for someone you love.

You helped your elderly neighbor unload the groceries from her car because you were outside watering your flowers or playing with your children and saw her struggling.  So the kind neighbor that you are, you ran over and helped her bring those groceries in.  She then sends you away once the task is done and you go about your day.

You drove your grandfather to the doctor because it was his first appointment in the Big City and not with his local physician.  So you offered to drive him because those tricky roads are so hard to navigate even for yourself.  When you both get home, you kiss him goodbye and once again you go about the rest of your day.

You were at your mother's house when she was bringing up a large load of laundry, so you jumped up and carried it up the stairs for her.  And because you enjoy your mother's company and she yours, you sat together and folded the laundry.  When the laundry was folded and put away, you had lunch together and then went home to your family.

All three of these "tasks" seemed innocent enough at the time, but when you look back, you realize that is when it all started.  You were setting the stage for you as the caregiver.  Now it could be months or years later, but suddenly it hits you, those "tasks" you do for your neighbor, grandfather and mother are not just because it's the nice thing to do.  You do it because they need you to!  They could not do it themselves, let's say safely!

This shift in your life changed those nice "tasks" to "duties" that you need to complete.

That equals more pressure on you!

I would encourage you to take a moment and think back to when that shift happened.  How long have you been a caregiver?  How has it changed your life? Or more importantly, how has it changed their life?

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