“There are only four kinds of people in the world – those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who need caregivers.” ~Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter~
If you are a caregiver, this section is for you. Yes, providing care for a loved one can be rewarding and fulfilling, but research has shown that more than one-third of family caregivers suffers harm to their physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Caregivers put everyone first but themselves. They neglect to fasten their own oxygen masks before helping others.
If you’ve ever flown, you’re familiar with this phrase. How can you help someone else if you can’t breathe? As a caregiver, how can you help others if you’re tired, unhealthy, or depressed? You might wonder how you can get enough rest, and do something to recharge your spirit, let alone take care of your loved one.
Have you ever run into an acquaintance who says, when it’s time to go,”We should get together for lunch sometime!” How many lunches are actually scheduled? Most likely not too many.
Well-meaning friends and family might use a variation of that phrase. “Let me know if I can help.” You’re thinking, “Can’t you see?” If an individual has not yet provided care, they may not be able to see.
Next time someone offers assistance in a non-specific way, be prepared. Keep a small notebook and a pen or pencil with you. When you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or standing in line at the grocery store, make a list of errands that others can do, such as retrieve items at the dry cleaner’s, pick up a gallon of milk, or buy those sale items at the drug store that are a great buy (but only for a limited amount of time!)
The dialogue would go something like this:
Well-meaning person: “Let me know if I can help.”
You: “Thank you for offering!” I have a short list here. Which errand would be convenient for you to run?”
This dialogue might seem uncomfortable at first, but after all, they did ask! Many people really do want to help, but they just don’t know what has to be done to make your life easier. Help them, and yourself, in the process, with your list.
On a regular basis, pages in the Caregivers section will be added which will offer information, resources, tips and sometimes a bit of humor to help you through your journey.
Carl and Nancy have personally experienced caring for a loved one.
We can truly say “We understand.”