Various authors have enumerated stages of caregiving. Carolyn McIntyre authored an article “The Three Stages of Caregiving” which struck me as direct and to the point.
Stage 1 – What happpened to my loved one, the initial stage? A crisis occured (fall, heart attack, stroke, memory loss). Similar to learning a brand new language, family members must emerse themselves in the situation and determine a course of action. Denial is common (& human) at first. Sources of help include medical personnel but also social workers and those with a nursing and social worker background (typically a geriatric care manager may be best).
Stage 2 – How much sacrifice is required, the middle stage? Too much sacrifice is not the answer (depression onset may be triggered). Families must go on. Talk with family, then talk more. Discuss with medical personnel the caregiver’s situation as well as the loved patient’s situation. Work to control stress, and family tension.
Stage 3 – Life quality, frustration and guilt, did I do enough, could I do more, the end stage? At the end we are powerless and cannot keep our loved one alive. We use guilt as a means to control powerlessness. Hospice and medical personnel, rabbi’s and ministers, social workers and counselors can help, reach out to them.