Barb Bennigsdorf runs Caregiver Solutions in Montrose Colorado. Here’s her list of 10 Tips for Family Caregivers. I think they are excellent reminders to caregivers to steer clear of Caregiver Mentality, that singular focus on the patient’s needs to the exclusion of the caregiver’s needs for self-care.
Remember that caregiving is a duality that cannot be separated. Self-care of the caregiver is as important as the care of the patient. If you become ill because you have forgotten to care for yourself, who will care for your loved one?
10 tips for family caregivers:
1. Caregiving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.
2. Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
3. When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do.
4. Educate yourself about your loved one’s condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
5. There’s a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one’s independence.
6. Trust your instincts. Most of the time they’ll lead you in the right direction.
7. Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be good to your back.
8. Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
9. Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing you are not alone.
10. Stand up for your rights as a caregiver, a family member, and as a citizen.
“Remember that caregiving is a duality that cannot be separated. Self-care of the caregiver is as important as the care of the patient. If you become ill because you have forgotten to care for yourself, who will care for your loved one?” Joanne Reynolds