Self Care for the Family Caregiver Series #2
Jul 5, 2018 by Toni Cone
Self-Care: It is Not Optional
You have heard it, read it, maybe even said it. You have to take care of yourself or you won’t be any good to anyone else. But what if you don’t? It is so hard to get the help you need; the rest of your family lives too far away or is too busy. So, you just keep plugging away, managing it all, doing the best you can. You may have gained a few pounds, given up your daily walk, stopped meeting your friends for a cup of coffee and conversation. That’s just what you have to do when you are caring for a loved one, right?
The problem is all of these things you give up: exercise, healthy eating, social activities, and relaxation are not luxuries; they are necessities. When you don’t do them the impact on your health and well-being is long-term. For tomorrow’s to-do list put in the #1 spot “Figure out how to take care of myself”. If finances are limited call your local Council or Commission on Aging, there may be resources at low or no cost available to you. Talk to other family members and friends and don’t beat around the bush. Say, “I need your help.” Most people want to help, but often need to know specifically what you need or want. Don’t leave it to chance. Be specific; “Can you stay with Mom on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 pm and make her dinner?”
Explain to your family or friends that you are feeling worn out and if you don’t get some help, you are afraid you may get sick. If you have funds to work with or a long-term care insurance policy, find out the details. It will help if you know how much time you need, so start with yourself. How much time is it going to take to get your life on track and to keep you feeling good? You are worth the effort and your family needs you, so be brave and put yourself on the list.
For more information on how we can help support you as a family caregiver, call us at (231) 222-5376.
This is blog #2 in a multiple part series.