The Three Losses in 5 years Syndrome
Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization. These are individuals who are serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates. Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss to come to terms with this in their life.
What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this, more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.
It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able, consider the services of a skilled professional organizer. A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate. A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.
While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.
The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses. For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.
I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.