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Adjusting to an Unexpected Role After Your Spouses Deployment: Caregiver
Today many military spouses are taking on a role they never expected to fill – caregiver. It is usually not a role one prepares. Once you step into the role of caregiver there will be millions of unanswered questions and concerns that are now a part of your life.
With the right resources the new role doesn’t have to be a source of confusion and frustration. People are available to help and while it may seem like unknown territory, it can become routine and part of daily live over time if you get help from the resources available to you.
Here is some important information to keep in mind when beginning the role of caregiver:
- Be sure to attend most or all appointments with your spouse. It is important because as a caregiver you are their advocate and their voice.
- If you have a job and can’t get time off, have someone close to you and your spouse attend appointments in your place. Someone who will be able to relate everything back to you and the doctor if needed.
- Make sure you have established power of attorney for your spouse’s medical records. Medical information will not be released to you if you do not have one.
- Always ask questions! No question is a stupid question, especially when it comes to understanding the medical needs of your loved ones.
- Take time for yourself every so often, even if it is an hour to read a book or take a hot bath. A good caregiver is one that is mentally and physically healthy.
Being a caregiver is a continuous responsibility and while you may feel like you can handle everything by yourself, it is important to ask for help. Family and friends are there for you to be a support system. The best advice for someone new to the caregiver role is to be patient and be in it for the long haul. No one can tell you how long it will last or if your spouse will get better. Always ask questions and ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Take it one day at a time and remember there are resources available at your disposal.
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