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Issues of Control

by Kate Murphy, RN

This week I would like to talk a little bit about control issues in caregiving. Control is probably one of the most important things our loved one can lose. When physical, or emotional challenges hamper our ability to maintain control in our lives, it can be a very disheartening and sometimes defeating situation for both caregiver and care receiver. 

We all adapt and alter priorities in our lives as circumstances bring about changes that affect the way in which we are able to manage our activities of daily living. Have you ever been ill, or laid up for even a brief time? How frustrating was it for you to have to wait for someone else to take you to the store, or a doctor’s appointment, or even have a meal? It is not pleasant. We can get very frustrated when our lives are disrupted for even a few days. Imagine then how you would feel if these limitations that prevent you from doing what you want when you want it were a permanent part of your life.

 Is it any wonder why at times our loved ones get a bit cranky, or seem at other times to deliberately cancel plans? For them, it is just one small way in which they can maintain some control in their life. When there is little opportunity to assert your own control, even what might seem to be a small thing to us, can become a very important issue to our loved one. I would urge you to keep communication open during these times. By letting each other know how you are feeling, you may find the control issues become less important. Life is too short to waste precious time being frustrated or upset. Enjoy each moment of the time you have with your loved one. It will serve to help you through the days ahead when he or she is no longer with you.

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