November is National Family Caregivers Month. Approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP). About 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. The cumulative financial impact of this unsung and unpaid labor from loving volunteers is estimated at $470 billion per year.
As Caregivers we are often put into a position where we have to choose between what is good for ourselves, and what is good for our loved one or care partner. Placing someone else needs in front of our own might be difficult for some people to understand, but not for the caregiver!
To be a healthy caregiver we have to learn how to live our life in the solutions of our caregiving experience, not the problems caregiving can create in our lives. By living a life focused on solutions, we live life with clarity, hope and love. Focusing solely on the problems of caregiving we live in fear, worry and despair.
Here’s The Deal: Taking care of self is rule number one while in the midst of caregiving. Whether the words are spoken or not, your loved one understands the stress you are under and wants you to take care of yourself. When you get to the point where you are at least half as good at asking care of yourself as you are at taking care of your loved one, you be on the right track. But first and foremost you have to start by making a plan! Start by:
Create A Care Team: While are super hero’s our caregiving capes are limited. Reach out to family members and friends who can play a role on the care team. Everyone brings different talents to the team, utilize them! Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness!
Set a Daily Intention For Yourself: Caregiving can be time consuming, especially if your balancing your career and raising children at the same time. Schedule something for yourself, every day, even if it is just five minutes of me time in a room alone.
Have A Back-Up Plan: What if you get sick? See Create a Care Team Above.
As Caregivers, we then to think that we are indestructible, but we are susceptible to illness too. Stress and fatigue will play havoc on all parts of your body, mind and spirit.
I believe that there is no greater honor than to be entrusted with the care of another human being. I make no bones about it, caregiving is hard, but in the end, the good days will always outweigh the bad ones.
by Christopher MacLellan, M.A., CSA
Chris MacLellan, is affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in many caregiving circles. Chris has over 10 years of personal caregiving experience and is an ardent advocate for caregivers and their caree’s, through his Caregiving blog, The Purple Jacket and his weekly radio show, ‘Healing Ties.’ Now Chris is creating a life to love after Caregiving ends through his radio show, ‘Healing Ties’ by encouraging people to live a happy and healthy life. With special guests from across the country, Healing Ties: Creating A Life To Love provides listeners with real-life solutions to real-life issues in a calm and peaceful way.
Chris’ book, “What’s the Deal with Caregiving” takes you on the caregiving journey from beginning to end, with plenty of sound tips in-between. Learn the importance of creating a care team, how to advocate for your caree, using your Ph.D. in caregiving and Chris’ four stages of grief.
Get the Book: What’s The Deal With Caregiving
Visit his Site: The Whole Care Network