Thursday, February 3, 2011

Caregivers Need Care Too

I have watched my father-in-law (who is also my friend) as he has provided 100% of the care for my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer's disease, over the past few years. He has been there for her from the the time she wakes until it is time for bed again, taking care of her every need. Now, after years of working himself so hard, he is having to deal with his own health problems and seek answers he should have looked for long ago.

He is learning the hard way that he will not always be able to provide the care that she requires and that he needs to learn a few things about being a caregiver. I'm happy to say that he is finally seeing the light and has hired help in addition to making use of hospice.

I feel like this information is so important, whether your the cared-for, or the caregiver. And, it doesn't matter if you provide care to someone with an invisible illness like migraine disease or a more visible and more devastating illness such as Alzheimer's. You need help too. Please take the time to share this and/or the links below with others.

"Care-giving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often."

You have worked hard all of your life, and this may be the last job you may have, taking care of your sick loved one. When you worked for "the man", you were given breaks and holidays.Why shouldn't you have them now. Don't be afraid to ask those around you if they will help give you the time that you need. Use these breaks for more than doing the weekly shopping. Go to the library, a coffee shop, or the movies, in order to recharge your batteries. You may be able to use respite care available in your area in order to plan and take a real vacation. Don't feel guilty for leaving and leading your own life.

"Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it."

Situations can look hopeless. Doing the same thing day after day can cause even the most optimistic to lose their compass. If you even begin to think that you are depressed, don't be afraid to ask your doctor, or others for the help you need. Depression may sneak up on you, even if you think things are going great. It's a hard job living and caring for a sick loved one. Taking medication in order to feel stable and able to cope, is not sin.

"When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do."

Let them help! Show them how you want something done and step out of their way. It's easy for you to excuse others from helping because you feel embarrassed or don't feel like they can do it as well as you can. There is always help available to you no matter how difficult your circumstances.

You only need to say "yes" and allow your life to become your own.


There are more tips for family caregivers posted at, Tips and Tools.

Other Resources;
Family Caregiving 101
National Alliance for Caregiving


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