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Feeling overwhelmed and out of control?  You are in CHAOS, family caregiver.

Chaos

Do you remember a time when you had less stress? Do you remember having things under control? It may be hard to believe in the face of current events, you DID experience a more comforting time, AND you CAN experience this again. First, understand and recognize that you are in CHAOS.

  • The bottom line:
    • Health events create crisis and chaos in the lives of family caregivers and their loved ones
    • Millions of family caregivers (53%) feel that they had no choice regarding their care situation and 36% of caregivers consider caregiving to be highly stressful
    • Health events trigger 4 types of chaos – unpredictabilty, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity

As family caregivers, we’re on a journey to support and help manage our loved one’s care.  I can vividly remember a time when life was less stressful. My loved ones and I would frequently get together and laugh. Sharing a good meal and telling stories was the hallmark of our time together. Looking back, this time was comfortable — the comfort zone. When our grandfather fell down the stairs and suffered a serious brain injury, however, we were thrown into chaos. The fall and the events that followed left us feeling overwhelmed and struggling to figure out what to do.

In the United States, it was reported that 53% of family caregivers felt that they had no choice regarding their care situation and 36% of caregivers consider caregiving to be highly stressful.  Chaos simply adds fuel to this fire.  So, what is a family caregiver to do?  Let’s first understand what chaos is and how to recognize it.

Understanding chaos

Health events or crises expereienced by your loved ones drives 4 types of chaos.

  • Unpredictability – occurs when health events create rapid change and in ways that are difficult to predict.
    • Falls and the risk of falling is an example of unpredictablity.
  • Uncertainty – occurs when health events result in a present state that is unclear and the future is uncertain.
    • The diagnosis of a chronic illness and the uncertainty for your loved one’s future, as well as your own, is an example of uncertainty.
  • Complexity – occurs when many different, interconnected factors come into play, with the potential to cause confusion.
    • The challenges of navigating an unfamiliar health care system with multiple doctors, specialists, medications and care plans (and more) are an example of complexity.
  • Ambiguity – occurs when there is a lack of clarity or awareness about a health situation.
    • The struggle to figure out what to do in the presence of a health crisis is an example of ambiguity.

Family Caregiver Chaos = Change

These 4 types of chaos have serious implications for you, your loved one, and their home and caregiving environment.  Each of these types of chaos are turbulent and unpredictable forces of change. Each represent a set of challenges that you and your loved ones have to face. You may encounter each of these types of chaos at different times along your family caregiver journey. Individually, these challenges can be significant, but they can be daunting when they’re combined. It is no wonder then that you are feeling tremendous pressure and stress as you endeavor to support and care for your loved one.

The Chaos to Care Blog intends to look further into these forces of change and what family caregivers can do to transform their chaos into care – improving the wellbeing of their loved ones, as well as their own.

Please comment, share and Join me in navigating the family caregiver journey and uncovering the steps to transforming our chaos into care.

Sending you courage and love, David.

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