The Caregiver's Journey
In this section, the group members work on their problem solving skills. Tracy explains that breaking problems down into manageable parts can help caregivers cope with stress and reduce anxiety.
Okay. Our next topic is problem solving. Working on your problem-solving skills can help you cope with the stress and reduce all that anxiety. Now that may sound simple, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed it can be … it can be hard to see what options you might have.
So first I want you to start with identifying the problem. Now if it has many parts, break it down into one problem at a time, and then brainstorm the solution. Think of as many possibilities as you can. And after that, review your options by considering the pros and the cons of each possibility. And from there, you choose that solution that seems to fit best for you, and try that solution out. Okay. Now if it doesn’t work, try another solution until you find the one that does.
This is just what we did a few weeks ago, Tracy, when I was trying to figure out what to do about my job.
So tell us what happened.
You know, my boss has been very understanding, but my workload hasn’t gone away since Tom got hurt. The problem is that my job and income are important to us, but I can’t be there right now.
So, you had to clearly identify the problem. What were some of the possible solutions?
Well, I could quit, but that isn’t a viable option in the long term. I really love my job. I could work remotely while Tom’s in the hospital, but at this point it seems to be more than I can handle. The other thought was that I have a replacement come in on a short-term basis.
Okay, that’s great. Those were the possible solutions Michelle brainstormed. At the same time, she was assessing all those possibilities — trying to see what the long-term effects might be. So, what did you finally decide?
Well, I asked my boss if she could hire a temporary replacement for me — just for a few months, you know. We’re trying that out for now, so we’ll see how it goes.
Well, if it doesn’t work out, you can always try another option. I mean that’s … that’s an excellent example; that’s really what we’re talking about.
Okay. Does anybody have any comments? Anything?
That seems pretty complicated, just to make a decision.
Actually, it’s not at all. It’s just really looking at your options clearly. I found it really helped me.
Great. Okay. I guess that’s it for now. I hope that over the coming week, you can really try to get some rest, take care of yourselves, eat healthy foods, look at some relaxation techniques, try to get some exercise. You know you’ll be in my thoughts this week. And I always look forward to seeing you. If you need me, give me a call. Okay. Take care.
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