The idea of one day becoming a caregiver may cross the minds of many Colorado residents. You may anticipate caring for an elderly parent or maybe even becoming a stay-at-home parent yourself. What you did not expect, however, was that a serious car accident would leave your spouse or other close loved one with debilitating injuries and needing your care almost immediately.
The accident may have resulted in a brain injury that altered your loved one’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, or it may have caused a spinal cord injury that diminished or completely took away your loved one’s ability to walk or move in other ways. When presented with the idea of caring for this person, you did not hesitate.
Don’t overdo it
Though many people would gladly jump into the caretaker role for a family member who has suffered a disabling injury, it is necessary to think realistically and logically about the situation. Caregivers do not miraculously have more time and energy to give to their loved ones, so taking care of yourself during this time is equally as important as caring for your loved ones. As the adage goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup, and if you are rundown, your ability to provide care will also deplete.
Some ways you can help yourself and your loved one in this new situation include:
- Connecting with other caregivers who understand what you are experiencing
- Gaining information about your loved one’s medical situation, how his or her condition may change, and how you could address those changes as a caregiver
- Handling new scenarios confidently, such as speaking up at medical appointments for your loved one when needed
- Asking for assistance from other loved ones or even professional caregiving services when you feel overwhelmed
- Balancing control by giving your loved one the opportunity to handle certain events or decisions on his or her own if capable of doing so
Taking on this role could leave you feeling stressed at times, but more than likely, you feel happy to be your loved one’s advocate and ensure that you are both living full lives.
How else can you help?
If a car accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver resulted in your loved one’s injury, you may want to look into your loved one’s legal options for seeking compensation for damages. A successful personal injury claim could allow your loved one to receive monetary restitution for medical bills, care costs, lost income and punitive damages, depending on the exact outcomes.