ARTICLES / General /
Saying Goodbye to Caregiving /
By Jenifer Bradley, Staff Writer
One of those days
A caregiver tends to put their own health on the
backburner while serving in that busy role. If so,
after a loss is a good time to get back on track by
having a physical, joining an exercise group, or
taking a relaxing vacation. After a loss, a
caregiver may become irritable, have trouble
sleeping or act very restless.
Strong memories associated with a loved one who
is now gone, such as birthdays, anniversaries or
holidays, can trigger these frustrating symptoms.
Memories are tricky in that they offer caregivers a
time to reflect, but also evoke sadness when looking
back on what could have been. Missed opportunities
are hard for caregivers to get past, but it helps to
focus on the positive memories, the experiences and
fun times shared with a loved one.
Some traditions may change with the absence of a
loved one, while others may stay the same and be
comforting memories. It all depends on family
dynamics, as well as what memories are strongest and
most important to each person.
That said, all caregivers are going to have
“those days,” the ones that just don’t go by fast or
easily. Support groups are a great resource for
those dealing with loss, as is simply arranging a
dinner with friends who will listen and be of
Some caregivers like to journal, make scrapbooks,
or take up a cause their loved one found important.
Whatever it is, a caregiver will benefit by finding
something meaningful and enjoyable to them. Some
even continue with caregiving for another family
member, or professionally.
There is a lot of paperwork after the caregiving
period ends. In addition to funeral arrangements,
thank you cards to family and friends, there is a
lot of personal paperwork involving a loved one’s
wills, assets, insurance, bills, etc. to deal with.
First and foremost, if a loved one was living
independently, it’s important to make sure their
home is safe from vandalism—especially if they lived
alone and it is now public knowledge they are
deceased. A caregiver should remove all valuables
from the home, making a list of what was removed and
where the item is currently. Lock all doors and
windows, as well as change the locks or collect all
copies of the house keys.