I’m continuing my 9 part series on attributes and experiences of caregivers based on the letters that spell caregiver. Last week we discussed the idea that “C is for Courage”. I hope you found it useful and could accept and wear your courage proudly. It’s not about being self-sacrificing; it’s about having the consciousness to stand strong in times of adversity.
A is for Ally
Following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-altering illness, it’s common for the patient to feel alone. They often adopt a “me against the world” mentality as they face new experiences, doctors, and treatments. You, the caregiver, are the patient’s ally. As someone who loves or has deep affection for the patient, you’re the natural choice to be the patient’s ally. No one, aside from the patient, has their best interest at heart than you, the caregiver.
In the patient’s life, as an ally, you hold a place of esteem. I know it may not seem that way, especially when the patient is giving you a difficult time. However, the counter-intuitive response to that is they push back at you because they know you won’t leave them. It’s not about being imprisoned by the patient, but as an ally you have a connection that keeps the two of you on the same team.
As an ally you may be the voice that interfaces with the medical community; especially if the patient is a bit timid, or too ill to voice their own wishes. Your ally status, along with a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, gives you the right and the license to speak in a manner that protects the patients dignity and their wishes for their treatment.
Often when people hear the word ally they think of global issues where countries take sides and put up a united front. I know some may equate their illness to warfare, but that’s often a stance out of fear. It’s better to create a united front by empowering yourself and the patient with information and a good social support network. The medical community will be attuned to your energy as an ally and will give you the respect and sense of inclusion in the process because at that time everyone is working to improve the life of the patient.
I know that being an ally comes with a lot of responsibility. I’d like to honor that responsibility by saying “THANK YOU”. I say it because I hope I’m your ally as you walk the path of the caregiver. I hope I can provide you with an outlet for your frustrations in a manner that is validating and safe. I want to be your ally so that no matter the occasion you have the sense that someone’s got your back. I want to be your ally because it goes with the “pay it forward” concept. I’ve got your back, you’ve got the patient’s back, etc…..Allies are imperative to surviving the caregiver journey.
If you need any more information or support please don’t be afraid to lean on me when you need back-up.
I look forward to continuing this 9-part series with you. Until next Friday…be well!