Caregivers Need Time To Nurture ThemselvesPosted on July 11, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Alzheimers Care, Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Home Care Non-Medical, Respite Care
Dear Regina: I am a caregiver for my husband of 50 years.
He has Alzheimer’s, and I feel as if I never have time any more for myself.
I love him so much, but I am feeling burnt out.
I feel guilty if I take time for just me.
What do you suggest?
Dear Caregiver: This is a true love story! Thank you for reaching out.
I see many caregivers give so much of themselves that they forget the importance of self-care!
Think of it this way — two people are depending upon you to stay happy and unstressed: you and your husband.
If something happened to you, you’re both affected. Therefore, it is twice as important to take care of you.
Being a caregiver is a stressful and demanding job that comes with little or no advance preparation.
The well-being of the caregiver requires priority consideration.
Caregivers are susceptible to depression, illness, and physical and emotional exhaustion.
Any of these conditions will easily interfere with a person’s ability to be an effective caregiver.
With that in mind, it is very important to your loved one that you maintain some of the things that you have always enjoyed.
Keep in contact with friends and try to keep connections with people. Attend a support group where you’ll not only find resources and emotional support but also you’ll be able to socialize with people who are in your same circumstance.
Make the time to get out and nurture yourself. Making yourself happy will make you both happier in the long run.
You can also download a great self-care for caregivers’ booklet from the Veterans Administration for free at: http://www.caregiver.va.gov/strong/strong_yourself.asp
And I must mention the Benevilla Caregiver Support groups that I run. They really are a wonderful resource for folks just like you and we have different groups for different concerns. Please visit us soon. http://www.benevilla.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2014-Caregivers-Support-Groups-Schedule.pdf.
Visit me online at www.benevilla.org.
Regina Thibideau has been a family and spousal caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s. She is also a professional whose job entails facilitating caregiver support groups in the Phoenix, AZ Metro area, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s caregivers from the beginning of their journey to the end.