Doctor appointments that must be scheduled; the constant care and attention your love done needs, both physically and emotionally; the back and forth to grocery stores, drug stores, physical therapy sessions and, most of all, the need to know you are doing the "right thing" for loved one in need of your care. We all know the daily challenges we face as caregivers and that we seldom have time for ourselves.
But we need time –time to reflect, relax and rejuvenate for at least few hours each week. This "private time"gives us a renewed strength to carry on. It's important to take that time. You deserve it. AND, should not feel guilty about it.
There are ways to allow yourself time away. For an hour,a day or even a weekend to collect your thoughts and get back on track. It's okay to do that. Listen, you've got a very important role to play - if you do not care for yourself, who will step in to care for you AND your loved one. I want to share with you some of the things I've learned.
Take the time to read through my "guilt free" list and I know you'll be a better caregiver for it...
- Accept the help others offer. Suggest specific things they can do for you and your loved one. This is rule #1for a reason. No one is a Super Hero. Don't feel like you're the only one that can take dad to the doctor or your wife to her physical therapist. REACH OUT and ask another family member -- or close family friend -- to assist you occasionally so you have time to yourself.Trust in their willingness to help. Many times they do not know how to reach out and help unless you are able to communicate your needs.
- Ask for and accept favors such as: a friend staying with your loved one while you are able to get out of the house for a while, a dinner being cooked for you and your loved one once a week, an offer to go to the supermarket or drugstore in your place. Respite can be achieved on a daily basis with the smallest of kindnesses.
- Know your limits! If you wear yourself out caring for your loved one, who will step in to care for the both of you? Remember, caring for yourself is not selfish, it’s the greatest gift you can give your loved one.