Four Stages of Caregiving*
- Stage One: Getting Started or Surviving
Recognize the impact of caregiving on your life and family, learn how to be a caregiver and find out more about the older person who needs care. Surviving is what you do to keep going when you are feeling completely helpless. Surviving consists of coping: doing what has to be done and expending ones energy just to get by.
- Stage Two: Finding Help or Searching
Accept help from family, friends, places of worship, support groups, and formal services. This is a time of acting, of moving forward from a reactive state of surviving. It is the beginning of a sense of control over emotions and your life; the awakening of a source of energy; a time for asking questions about the goals, values, and priorities of your own life.
- Stage Three: Heavy Care
Prevent caregiver burnout and injury while providing heavy care, protect your care receiver’s health and safety, and consider facility care.
- Stage Four: Letting Go or Separating
Resolve relationships, complete end-of-life decisions, use Hospice care, let yourself grieve, care for yourself, and have a plan for your life after caregiving has ended.
The four stages are part of a normal process of adaptation. By understanding how they work, caregivers can better predict their emotions and reactions, and not think they are somehow “failing” when they feel a sudden rush of uncomfortable feelings. The stages help us see how we grow through the crises and hard times of our lives. The struggles and challenges of caregiving present great sorrows at times, but also opportunities for personal growth and competence.
(Information contained in this section is provided courtesy of the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco Pinellas, Inc)