Anticipatory grief is an odd type of grief that you’re likely to experience well before the “precipitating event” for the grief. Little losses that you and your senior experience along the way, like injuries or bad health news, also contribute to this type of advance grief. The good news is that you can find ways to manage it easily.
Stay Informed, but Keep Your Worries in Check
It’s vital that you know what’s going on with your senior’s health. That’s tough to keep up with when each piece of news makes you worry more, though. Even though that’s understandable, you need to do what you can to compartmentalize a bit. Stay as informed as you can about your senior’s future possible issues but save worrying for a specific time and place.
Process Your Feelings When They Crop Up
Just because you’re not allowing yourself to worry constantly, that doesn’t mean that you have to bottle up your emotions. In fact, if you do bottle them up, you’re much more likely to experience an explosion later. What you really need to be doing as you go is processing your emotions. Feel what you’re feeling, work through those feelings, and then allow them to pass through and leave. This helps your emotions to be less overwhelming as you sort through them.
Take Advantage of Help When You Can
When you’re dealing with grief and yet still have to be a caregiver, you have to be gentle with yourself. There’s a lot that still has to be done and you likely can’t just run away for as long as you want. What you can do is to take advantage of respite time a little more often than you might have been in the past. Bringing in senior care providers ensures that your elderly family member is in good hands and that you can take the time you need to rest and to do whatever else you need to do.
Do What You Can to Maintain Normalcy
Routines do a lot to support your senior and you in your quest to keep things moving along as normally as possible. If your routines don’t feel like they’re working, it might be time to make some adjustments. Changes in your senior’s health, mobility, or abilities can all create a situation that necessitates some small adjustments in how her day runs, too.
You’re likely to experience episodes of anticipatory grief at various points as a caregiver. It’s not always something you can predict, but it is something that you can manage compassionately.