Caregiver plays a huge role in one’s life. As the person under their care is usually at the senescent season of their lives, it is but natural for them to experience anticipatory grief.
But unlike the usual grief one feels after a loved one dies, there is a different way to deal with this emotion. And it’s not about sending memorial gifts like memorial wind chimes (as the person under their care is not deceased yet). In this article, we’re discussing ways on how to deal with this kind of grief.
What’s Anticipatory Grief All About
Normally, people feel grief when they have lost someone or something close to their hearts. But there are cases when the same intensity of emotions is felt even before they lose that loved one.
Called anticipatory grief, this experience can be felt by people who know someone who is terminally ill or someone who has an injury or a health condition that had caused them permanent change (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease or dementia). Knowing that someone can be gone any time, one may feel anxious and lonely knowing about their impending demise.
Caregivers or workers who are in the home care industry are subjected to such a situation. Even though they do not have any by-blood relationship with their patient, the times they have spent together are enough to get them attached to each other. Thinking that the other person will soon pass away, they normally experience the so-called “anticipatory grief.”
Dealing With Caregiver Grief
Like what we’ve mentioned earlier, dealing with this kind of grief is different from the conventional way of expressing our sympathy (like sending our memorial gifts). Here are some ways on how to soldier on through life when facing such a situation:
Be honest and acknowledge your feelings. The first stage of whatever kind of grief is denial. It’s normal — people tend to try to avoid something that’s unpleasant for them. Get over this stage and accept the truth. By acknowledging your feelings, you can clear your mind and identify things that you can still do while the other person is still alive.
Know what you can and can’t do. As a caregiver, you’re trained to provide the care and assistance to the best of your abilities. Give your tender love and care while you still can, and focus on things that you can do. Keep in mind that you don’t have control over the whole situation. Give your best because this way, you won’t have any regret even after the person under your care passes away.
Keep making good memories together. To further ease your anxiety and pain, train yourself to focus on the positive side. Grab every chance to make good memories together. And as a professional, it’s also your responsibility to keep things as normal as possible.
Don’t feel guilty after you have moved on from grieving. Once the tragic news of your patient’s death arrives, give yourself the time to grieve. You can also send out memorial gifts to the patient’s family. But take note that once you have finally coped up with the loss, you don’t have to feel guilty. You also have your own life to live — make the most out of it while you’re still alive.