“No thanks” Saying No to Caregiving
Sounds shocking doesn’t it? But sometimes for the sake of both care-receiver and caregiver, it is best to simply say no to caregiving. For a series of reasons detailed below, being the main caregiver is not the best option in a situation when a loved one needs full time care and that is okay, there should not be any sense of guilt.
Caring for a close loved one, in many cases a family member, is something that usually comes natural but being a caregiver is not an easy task and unfortunately the need to resign from it usually comes at a moment when the caregiver has reached a point of feeling beaten and consumed.
Having the ability to say no to caregiving, is probably saving the caregiver and recipient from a difficult situation of burnout and is also strengthening the relationship with openness and honesty. Of course there are caregivers that are stern and too proud to admit that they are not doing a good job, or simply do not see it. In which case is the family’s turn to sit with them and discuss things in a calm matter to find a solution.
“No” is often associated with negative connotations but the word can have very different meanings. Saying no to caregiving is not to be seen as a negative thing. Researching and explaining the real meaning of this “no” is key to build an emotional base for the caregiver to discern the needs of the person they are caring for and his or her own necessities.
Ideally the best time to review the boundaries, possible scenarios and budget planning is at the beginning of the caregiving situation when all parties are new to it and can express their doubts and concerns to build a solid relationship that will have some limitations. But in reality, most of caregiving situations come suddenly after a major health crisis of a family member and the top priority is getting the care-receiver stable first. After the crisis is over then all family members can discuss how the caregiving will be addressed and create a set of boundaries in their plan.
On other cases the task is slowly inducted by taking responsibilities and tasks of the loved one as he or she if developing more and more symptoms of the diagnosed disease. In such cases the caregiver must point out the importance of establishing limits to his or her tasks, hopefully before there are any signs of emotional and physical burnout.
To say no to caregiving is definitely difficult, especially because the main caregiver is someone who is vital for the person they care for. Any health issues on the caregiver as a result of burning out may put the patient at more health risks than the ones he or she is already facing.
The sense of guilt for the caregiver who is thinking about “resigning” their tasks comes natural as it is an innate moral expectation of what should be the correct caregiver’s behavior the moment the he or she takes on the responsibilities. Giving a definition to what must be done that can be sustained by the caregiver and what can’t, liberates the caregiver from any stress of not being able to fulfill their expectations.
Before expressing this negative to the care receiver it is ideal that the caregiver first talks to family and friends to find support and guidance in this transition. Then saying no to caregiving should be backed by honesty and simplicity, not “going around the bushes" or being misleading to the real fact.
Once the decision has been made, the caregiver must be sure about the changes and sustain their position while communicating it to the care recipient. Express how the situation is, how it will change and the solution. After communicating the news allow time for him or her to understand and react to this change process and also extend the invitation to talk about a joint solution. The balance readjustment might take some time but in the end the result will be successful.
Communication is vital during caregiving. The relationship between all those involved must be direct and honest to avoid any repercussions that could affect any of the parties. It is okay to say no to caregiving when this solution is based on smart choices and openness from all.