It’s Going to Take Two to Canoe – Part II – Being a Good Care Receiver

Last week I blogged about how to be a good care giver

Today I would like to talk about being a good care receiver.  If you are a person in need of care giving you may be watching everything that once was your life slowly (or overnight) disappear and what was, is no more.  And what is, is uncertain, unclear and insurmountable.

Like care givers, care receivers aren’t born equipped; often feeling overwhelmed, untrained, and uneducated to be thrust into this life.  But with time, trial and error, and love for their care givers (note, the plural tense) they receive some intense training. Here are a few more suggestions.

Try to accept help with grace and gratitude and stop the guilt that a care receiver feels of being a burden to others.  Accepting help from others can provide care givers with an emotional and spiritual sense of giving back and growth that they would not otherwise experience.

Make sure that the care giving role is shared.  It takes a community of love to be a good care receiver.  While you may wish only your daughter or son to be the one that baths you, for the sake of your loved one and primary care giver, encourage others to provide some of this care.  Caregivers need time to maintain and recharge their physical, emotional and spiritual health if they are to provide the care receivers with the quality of care they deserve.

Take an active role in your health.  Don’t wait to see if things heal or that circumstances will simply go away.  Help by educating yourself in your disease state and do all you can do for yourself.  Prepare your medications for the week if you can, keep your medical history organized and utilize the tools available for you whether it be a wheelchair or an oxygen tank.

Count the blessings and not the sorrows in your life and express gratitude for what you have.  Do not dwell on what you are missing or what you have lost for the more time spent in this spiritual and emotional spiral into depression, the more time has passed and the less you can do.  Adapting to the changes and adopting an attitude of gratitude is therapeutic and uplifting.

Take an active part in living each and every day of your life.  Don’t let a pair of depends or an oxygen canister make you self-conscious to go out with friends.  You are more than your body and people look beyond it to see who you are and to be with you.  Stay involved in church or synagogue, in day to day activities with your family.  You may not be able to do as much as you have done before your illness, but you can be a good listener or a prayer warrior for your church prayer ministry.  Make the memories small and large.  Be a part of living; for God has a purpose for your life, no matter what condition your body is in!

Making end of life decisions while you are able to actively decide what those desires are is one of the best ways to help your care giver. It helps survivors go from grief to acceptance of end of life and alleviates those decisions that they will have to make while grieving.

Work hard to retain your sense of humor.  When my mother lost her hair from chemotherapy, she bought herself a very expensive “wig of her dreams”.  One day she was standing in the bathroom assisted by a walker and fussing with her wig which was giving her fits.  She asked me to “fix it” (honestly, it did not need fixing).  However, I went through the motions of combing it with a hair pick.  To my horror, I caught the netting of the wig and off it flew.  Unable to get by my mother and the walker, we both watched as it made its way to the toilet bowl.  It landed on the edge, wobbled and fell to the floor.  We looked at one another in the mirror and laughed until the tears ran down our face.  Laugh at the ridiculous, laugh at the insanity, but laugh.

Stay tuned for the final part of It’s Going to Take Two to Canoe where I’ll be asking you to participate by sharing suggestions on how you as a caregiver or care receiver row across the rough waters of medical adversity. Be sure to participate and have a chance to win a prize.

Thank you very much for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to comment here or even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at

Blessings for Health & Wellness.

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