Caregivers Give to Themselves First
It’s one of those occupations where the primary task is to take care of others, and that’s where the focus remains. But what about the caregivers? If you’ve ever been on a plane, the flight attendants remind us from the pamphlet that in case of an emergency where the air pressure drops and the oxygen masks fall from the airplane ceiling, you put yours on first. You of course know why, because you are no use to helping anyone put theirs on if you are losing consciousness from lack of oxygen. The same idea with home care givers applies. If the caregiver gets sick, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, tired or even burned out, everyone suffers… they’re almost useless. That’s why is so important that caregivers take extra good care of themselves.
Empathy or Compassion?
The issue caregivers face is that when they’re in the presence of suffering, sometimes they feel it too! The question is, is it empathy or compassion? Maybe you should determine that for yourself but if it isn’t compassion, consider opening your heart. In order to remain in the presence of suffering without being overwhelmed we need to be emotionally stable — approach the situation with an open heart and positive vibes for the person being cared for and yourself.
Considering the subject, one might ask, could that cause nursing home abuse widely talked about without doing this? Forbes talks about the Dark Side of Caregiving, but let’s stay on the light side. If you can’t care for a loved one yourself, don’t feel bad, not all of us were cut out for it! You can find many worthy companies to help you along this journey though. Granny Nannies, for one, has many locations and is a reputable company that assists in elder care including Alzheimer’s disease.
For good tips and tricks for self care, check out the book written by Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, and Marvin Larsen called Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach.