The Caregiver's Bill of Rights - Part One

There are some days when I cannot get myself out of an Internet wormhole. I will scour the web for hours for sources of comfort and information to make me the best caregiver I can for my husband. In my web browsing travels, I have found multiple resources that have made me pause and think about my journey. I will think about how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go. 

I found this Caregiver’s Bill of Rights written by Jo Horne and thought it might be helpful to share and comment on.

I have the right: To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will enable me to take better care of my loved one.
— Jo Horne

 

Studies have shown that most caregivers for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients experience some debilitating health issues of their own. What many people outside of dementia caregiving do not realize is that most of the time it is a twenty-four hour, seven-day-a-week job. If you do not have a support system in place, there are no days off and the time adds up. Most full time caregivers say they suffer from depression and isolation. 

Stress can negatively affect your own health.  If we are not able to take care of ourselves – go to the doctor when we start to feel ill, drive to the pharmacy to pick up our own medications – then how can we as caregivers effectively take care of our loved one? God has given you one body; it is the only one you will inhabit on this earth. Do not feel selfish for putting your needs first sometimes. If your loved one is being looked after responsibly then, go for a walk, exercise, go get your annual check up from the doctor or dentist. If you are not at your best, then how can your loved one be at theirs?