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Caring for a family member with a disability comes naturally for most. As the people closest to them, we have their welfare and best interest at heart. We see them as vulnerable and cannot help but be naturally protective. It is also the most practical due to our proximity and savings from hiring a professional caregiver.
But good intentions and reduced costs rarely equal the best disability care. Being the designated primary caregiver come with costs we tend to dismiss or not recognise. One is our own mental and psychological well-being.
We will have days when we cannot be as understanding as we need to be. We give in to our irritation or anger, and immediately feel guilty afterwards. Another is our own need to have a quality “me” time. We need these breaks to give ourselves a chance to recover from our daily stressors.
The savings from hiring a professional seem worth it at first. But when you think of how much your time is worth by the hour, and how much you lose in terms of productivity, you will realise that you are “spending” more in the long run. So how do you break the news to your family that you can no longer be the primary caregiver?
There is no easy or foolproof way to go about this. It is a delicate subject. Expect the discussion to be tense, contentious, and polarising. But you can help reign in emotions by keeping your discussion focused on the best interest of your ward and hard, honest facts.
Give the family an honest picture of the current situation. Go over each pro and con to illustrate how disadvantageous it can be for everyone in the long run. Walk the family through the value of their time. Help them realize the reality of opportunity cost or how it may cost more for a non-trained family member to be the primary caregiver in the long run.
Emphasize the level of care or support your family member needs entails training, something you or other family members do not have. This is crucial because a trained caregiver will know how to respond during emergencies. A primary caregiver with little or no formal training may know what to do, but whether they can act properly during a crisis is another matter.
Do not forget to offer solutions like professional care such as Arcare disability care (click here to visit their website). They offer residency and home care and can tailor their services to meet the ward’s needs.
One of the early lessons impressed on us in school or at home is “honesty is the best policy”. Later on, we realise making decisions is not as clear as black and white, and honesty may sometimes hurt the ones we care the most.
But there are situations we cannot “rationalise” away such as disability care. These are times which call for a bit of tough care and brutal honesty. To be otherwise may cause greater pain and irreversible damage in the long run.