Happy 4th of July and welcome to Caregiver Friday.
I’m in awe of caregivers. Not only do they show compassion and understanding to the person they’re caring for who is ill, but they have perfected the fine art of multi-tasking. Ever looked at the calendar of a caregiver? It’s filled with reminders of appointments, lab tests, procedures and on top of that all the other responsibilities for family, work and community. To be a caretaker you have to be able to prioritize, categorize and memorize information, schedules and on top of that be able to delegate.
Somewhere in the mix it’s crucial that caregivers find a way to get some help. I know that many say if they ask for help then they aren’t a very good caregiver. In fact the opposite is true, you become a better caregiver when you understand how to become a caretaker to your own body and soul.
I would like to recommend that caregivers make it a point to have regular physicals. As is often the case your so wrapped up in taking care of the sick person that you put your own health needs on the back burner…that’s a big mistake. Don’t just take care of your physical body, take care of your emotional health. Attend a support group specifically for caregivers. Learn tips from others who have already walked in your shoes, don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Take care of your spiritual needs. I don’t mean you have to go to church/synagogue/mosque etc. but finding that place of quiet can be better than a vacation.
Remember that as the caregiver, you feel responsible for everything, even if that’s not the case…it comes with the territory. We’ll talk more about delegating in weeks to come, but for now know that you are heroes. I can’t believe that Hallmark hasn’t created a National Caregiver’s Day, just think of the number of cards they would sell.
You may not hear it often but I’d like to say THANK YOU for your sacrifices, your thoughtfulness and your willingness to care for those you love. If you need a pick-me-up there is a musical audiovisual program as a free gift at http://www.survivingstrong.com. It’s something you can go back to over and over to recharge.
I’d love to hear tips on how you cope with caregiving and we could share them with the world.