Wednesday Workshop – Caregiver Intuition: Trusting Your Instincts
Go with your gut—a common piece of advice that encourages us to tap into some of our most primitive and powerful instincts.
But being responsible for the health and well-being of an aging loved one means caregivers are constantly being forced to question their hunches. The number and sheer complexity of the decisions faced by those taking care of elderly relative can be overwhelming.
Where should my mother live? What’s the best kind of treatment for my husband with Alzheimer’s disease? How do I know when my parent can no longer care for themselves?
When bombarded by all this, you may start second-guessing yourself and it becomes ever more challenging for you to tap into—and trust—your intuition.
What does it mean to trust your gut?
When taking care of a loved one, is it ever appropriate to rely on instinct alone? Is there value in second-guessing decisions made based on instinctual feelings?
Some people compare intuition to an internal GPS system. Most of us use our “internal knowingness” to make decisions every day—it just comes so naturally that we often don’t recognize when we use it.
Intuition can come in handy if you’re trying to determine whether your mother or father needs extra help taking care of themselves. Pay attention to the things they’re not saying—body language, facial expressions, habits, etc. You know what’s normal for your loved one. If things seem out of sorts, it might be time to have a serious conversation about getting extra care.
Caregivers must balance instinct with information!
Research has shown that when people base decisions on their instincts, they often come up with the correct answers to problems, and that too much thinking can lead to what is known as “analysis paralysis”—the inability for a person to make even a simple decision, because they’re thinking too much about it.
However, relying solely on intuition can impair your ability to make good, unbiased choices.
Emotionally-charged decisions, such as whether or not to place a dying loved one on hospice, present another potential pitfall. In this circumstance, you may become plagued by guilt and doubt, or feel as though you’re “giving up,” and just letting your family member die. If you find yourself in a situation where it’s difficult to detach from your feelings and clear your mind, we suggest talking to other people you trust, preferably those who have been in the same situation, or a professional who can help you sort out and think through the options.
Stop second-guessing yourself. Second-guessing won’t do anything but paralyze you. If you become preoccupied by the “bad” decisions you’ve made in the past, it will just make it that much harder to move on and trust in your ability to know what to do.
No matter where you are in the process of learning to trust your instincts, be patient and forgiving. Teaching yourself to rely on informed intuition is tricky, but it can help you make better choices for your loved one.
Contact the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
To contact us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center please call (561) 588-4545. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!