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Who Are the Caregivers in Our Lives?

Increasingly, health care providers encourage thinking ahead about what we want for end-of-life care, however that might not be the only context in which to consider who we would want to care for us if we are faced with health challenges.  

Have you ever considered who in your own life might be a good caregiver if you were to need one?  

It’s difficult to suggest for anyone else what’s desirable in a caregiver; individual preferences are just as important in this arena as in any other.  But it is important to give some thought to it, and maybe to have conversations about it with people you think you’d want to be in that role.  It might also, depending on the situation, be a good conversation to have with your partner, especially if, for example, you come to the awkward realization that she would not want her husband to take care of her, but would want her friends to help out instead. (She loves her husband deeply; she also knows his limitations.)

Your preferred caregiver might, depending on your condition, need to be someone who has been through the procedure you’re going to undergo; someone with whom you’re comfortable exposing your body; someone who shares your faith; someone whom you could ask to read aloud to you; someone who can help advocate for you at doctors’ appointments;  someone who is a good and generous cook; someone who can help you with your children; someone who can just sit quietly with you while you fall asleep….

There are many kinds of caregivers, and many ways to give care.  It might seem morbid to dwell on this topic when you’re healthy, but that also could be the best time to give it some thought.

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