A Caregiver’s Guide to Dealing with Loss
As a caregiver, you are the first line of defense for your client. You protect them from falls, malnutrition, missed medications and help them maintain a healthy life. During the time you spend together, you may grow attached to them and start to build a repour with them. But what happens when the client that you held near and dear to your heart passes away? Are you equipped to dealing with that grief and loss?
It is important to know that the feeling of grief and sadness is completely normal, and you should allow yourself to feel this way. Individuals may try to suppress their feelings by continuing to go on with their daily routine as though nothing happened. While this may work as a coping mechanism for some people, for others it only harms their emotional health. Allow yourself to feel the sadness that is in your heart and recognize that you are entitled to feel the way you do.
After you have allowed yourself to recognize sadness and grief, figure out what is the best course of action on how you can deal with it. For some people, this may mean getting up in the morning and meditating for 10 minutes. Meditation can calm your mind and soul, bringing clarity to a hectic situation or time in your life. For others, exercise or increased physical activity may bring a cleared mind and a happy soul. During your time of sadness, find a healthy outlet that will bring happiness to your days. As long as you are not filling your time with obsessive exercise or physical activity, you will begin to feel the effects of replacing your loneliness and sadness with healthy habits.
During your time of grief and sadness, it is important to find positive ways to celebrate the life that was once lived by someone very special to you. Did your client have a love for books that you can carry on in their legacy? Maybe they loved bird watching and you can pick that up as a new hobby. Finding a way to honor your clients legacy can be a way to heal and to find a purpose in this otherwise confusing time in your life.
It is important to know that talking to someone is not a sign of weakness or fragility. Seeking out someone to talk to can be as easy as confiding in a family member or friend that is patient and will listen to you. In some cases, caregivers may choose to seek out a grief counselor in the beginning stages of grief, to get them through the hardest of times. The act of talking through your feelings and emotional state can be incredibly healing for those going through a hard time and dealing with grief. Allow yourself to heal by speaking with someone that you trust.
Although there isn’t a magic fix for caregiver grief, it is important to know that your grief and sadness is completely warranted. Your heart is big, and you opened it to the client that you were honored to served. After losing a client, try to find the outlet that works for you during this pivotal time of healing.