If you are the caregiver for a parent or other aging relative, you have probably asked yourself this question a few times, “Why me?” Caregiving is not something you plan for. You don’t just decide one day to be a caregiver simply because you have always wanted to see what it’s like. No, you usually fall into this role, quite literally, because there is no one else that is able or willing to do it. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you and most folks are never quite prepared for what can be a long and very demanding journey.
If and when you join the ranks of this courageous group of folks who take on the role of caregiving, be prepared to stretch your patience, to add those extra hours to an already long and perhaps stressful day, to smile, when you feel like crying and most importantly, to learn to take care of yourself. Easier said than done, I know.
Here are a few tips provided by National Family Caregivers Association:
Caregiving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.
Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do.
There’s a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one’s independence.
How can you do this?
One way is by learning from experts in the field of caregiving. Watch an online video webcast at mmLearn.org by Geriatrician, Dr. S. Liliana Oakes on the topic of Caregiver Stress. This presentation will help you find a way to look at caregiving as an opportunity to learn and grow in grace and wisdom.
This presentation is also available in Spanish: Cuidandose a usted mismo