Fear can be a normal part of life, but it can also grow to epic proportions. When fear starts getting in the way of your ability to make decisions as a caregiver, it’s not doing you any favors.
Small Fears Can Be Helpful
Smaller fears can help to keep you alert, especially when they’re reasonable. For example, you might be afraid that your senior could fall. So you go through her house and eliminate tripping hazards that could make her fall. That’s a fear that helps you to do something positive. Other fears are less reasonable and are usually so big that you can’t do much to alleviate or remove those fears.
Evaluate Whether Your Fears Are Reasonable or Not
If you’re dealing with a lot of different fears, take some time and write them out in a list. Everything that comes to mind, jot it down. Some of those fears may strike you immediately as reasonable, while others might be just as quickly recognizable as something you can’t do much about. Put each fear in one of the two categories.
Use a “What If” Exercise
Take one of your larger and less reasonable fears and try a “what if” exercise with it. This means that you’re going to ask yourself what if the situation you’re afraid of happens. Keep going. Each time that you get to another conclusion that feels like a stopping point, ask what if that happens. You might realize a few things after doing this activity. First, you might find that you do have valid solutions to this problem. More common is that you might realize that these fears are extremely unlikely to happen at all because the reality is quite different.
Set up Contingency Plans
For the reasonable fears, it’s time to put some contingency plans in motion. “What if” exercises can help you do this, too. For example, if you’re concerned about taking time away from your senior because you’re convinced something will go wrong, then it’s a good idea to hire elder care providers to take over for you. Find backups for your backups so that you’ve always got a person and a plan on which to rely.
Talk to Someone if You Need More Help
Setting some of these bigger fears aside can be really difficult. If you need more help with that, look for a counselor or therapist who can help you to work through those feelings. Leaving them alone can cause them to become even bigger, which can interfere with being a caregiver.
If you’re constantly afraid of what might happen or what has happened in the past, you can’t be an effective caregiver. Fear shuts everything down and keeps you from having the clear head that you need in order to make solid decisions for your elderly family member.