Can I SURVIVE as a Caregiver?
By the way, is it too much to ask for a sprinkle of JOY?
The answers are Yes and NO!
Yes, you can SURVIVE caregiving.
And NO, it’s not too much to ask for a bit o’ JOY.
In fact, if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll likely experience some of the same dementia symptoms as your care recipient.
I speak from personal experience. My husband and I became so exhausted caring for my father, initially, around the clock–comforting him when he came into our bedroom each night wanting to go to work, taking care of him each time he got sick or caught the flu, keeping a watchful eye on him so he wouldn’t wander right out of our home and onto the streets… Until we learned how to better care for him and ourselves, we were looking for a skilled nursing care for ourselves!
My husband began hallucinating. “They’re moving my papers,” he wrote in an email to me while I was speaking in Texas and Mississippi.
I wasn’t faring much better when I found myself momentarily lost on a well-traveled and familiar road. Does this sound like early onset dementia? It sure felt like it and we were only in our late thirties!
Fortunately, through RESPITE, we were able to get beyond caregiver dementia.
Through these three progressively positive stages of caregiving, you, the caregiver, will be strengthened by the threads of R.E.S.P.I.T.E.–your keys to Surviving, Thriving, and even Finding the JOY in Caregiving.
To survive caregiving, we must first, Recognize when we reach our limit.
Like the proverbial frog placed in pot filled with water upon the stove, will put up with the heat until death. Don’t die like an amphibian…
When the going gets tough, we need to recognize it and take a break; otherwise, we may engage in bad behavior leading to a lifetime of regret.
Don’t have enough time to take a respite, how about a Five-Minute Respite?
Once we recognize our limits and step away, we take steps to thriving as a caregiver.
Being Self-aware for Self-Care will help us move beyond survival to thriving as caregivers.
When we repeatedly focus on what our needs are and grow comfortable with moving away from stressful caregiving situations, we begin taking steps toward appreciating the importance of taking time for ourselves.
Surprisingly, we find enough moments of energy to focus on the Positive as we take steps to value ourselves. With practice, we learn to reach out for help.
Inquire about your options for care—such as the Continuum of Care Options from in-home care and adult day care through assisted living and skilled nursing.
From the beginning stages of R.E.S.P.I.T.E., through reaching out for help, you move from mere survival to strength as you thrive and even Find the JOY in Caregiving.
FIND the JOY in Caregiving
Treat your Loved One as you want to be cared for if you had the same disease / illness.
By taking these first six steps toward R.E.S.P.I.T.E., you will grow Empowered to Survive, Thrive, and then Find the JOY as a caregiver.
Survive as a caregiver when we:
Recognize we’ve had enough.
Escape for even a five-minute respite.
Thrive as a caregiver when we:
Become Self-aware, which leads to Self-care.
We open ourselves to noticing the Positive moments in our lives.
We then find the strength to Inquire about help with caregiving.
Find the JOY in Caregiving when we:
Treat our loved one as we would want to be treated
IF we were living with the same disease or illness.
Which helps us grow Empowered as caregivers
For more information, take Steps 1, 2, & 3:
- Surviving Caregiving – Self-care for Other Care
- Click to SIGN UP for The Caregiver’s Voice Monthly Newsletter.
It arrives the first of every month and it’s free.
- If you or someone you know is planning a caregiver program, consider (click on): Can I SURVIVE as a Caregiver?
Related topics: Alzheimer’s, assisted living, can I survive as a caregiver, caregiver dementia, caregiver survival, caregiving, continuum of care, dementia, in-home care, respite, skilled nursing care, wandering