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Steps to Developing Caregiver Resilience

November 4, 2021

There is no guidebook for becoming the caregiver of a loved one. When faced with receiving challenging news related to our loved one’s health, how do we move from the shock of our current situation to developing caregiver resilience for the benefit of ourselves and our loved ones? Here are a few key takeaways from
recent articles on the subject:

Coutu in How Resilience Works suggests that searching for meaning supports our ability to be resilient in challenging situations. Moving beyond the “why me” and exploring what opportunities may be presenting themselves as a result of our current situation helps to foster fortitude to face our challenges. As an
example, we may be able to raise money for research or volunteer for an organization related to the diagnosis of a loved one.

Taking time to renew yourself allows you to continue to “show up” for the demanding work of caregiving. By developing self-reflection skills, such as journaling, we can shift the way we think about our loved one’s condition and foster a more resilient inner dialogue. Changing the way we think and speak to ourselves about the situation will also help provide the stamina and perseverance we need to support our loved ones and foster resiliency.

Allison’s In the Face of Change and Crisis, the Resource We Need Most is Our Resilience suggests the following questions that encourage “action and learning in the face of loss” while helping us focus on factors that are within our control:

  • What is the new reality?
  • What next milestone are you
    working toward?
  • What can you do immediately
    to support the people who are
    affected the most?

The next steps focus on what positive influence our actions might have on the
future by asking:

  • What is your new vision?
  • What will you celebrate?
  • What do you wish to let go of
    that is holding you back?

Allison reminds us that it is essential to use words to create a positive emotional
climate with your support system. Resilient caregivers manage the energy, outlook,
engagement, and cohesion of their support network through their words and actions. Taking time to plan out a strategy for managing the emotional climate of
your home is as important as establishing the next item on your to-do list.

Sources: Allison, E. (2011). In the Face of Change and Crisis, the Resource We Need Most is Our Resilience.
Educational Leadership. p. 79-82. | Coutu, D. (2002). How Resilience Works. Harvard Business Review. p. 46-55

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