I am taking a break from instructionals to talk about taking care of yourself. You cant take care of anyone if your not taking care of yourself.
It is way too easy to sacrifice everything, including your own health, to make sure your loved one is taken care of. I know this all too well having done this myself many times before.
I became sick and I could barely move
In fact, this happened just a few months ago. My father in law tends to be very demanding and he’s not the nicest person in the world. I have a tendency to go over board and throw everything i have into something and taking care of him is no different. I learned everything I could about every condition he has. Also, due to his demands and such, i would go days with next to no sleep, if I slept at all. I started to get sick. I knew it.
It was the time of year and the changing of the seasons. It starts with sinus drainage. I took over the counter medicine such as sudafed, ibuprofen for the head pain, I would take cough drops and lozenges for the sore throat and then it finally came to ahead 2 months later, I could barely function.
Managing to pull myself out of bed was difficult even though every step felt like my entire body was encased in concrete. A face mask was put on to protect my father in law from getting sick. I told him i needed to see a dr cause i was at the point that I couldn’t hold off any longer.
I went to the dpctor and i had severe bronchitis that was escalating to walking pneumonia. A call to his social worker and let him know what was going on and that i needed to get him into respite care. Respite care is care that gives the family a respite, or time off, from taking care of a loved one.
I get 30 days a month from the VA. It took 2 weeks to even get to functional status and another 3 weeks to shake the rest of the sickness off. However, after two weeks, i got him back home and just bared it until i got better.
If i had listened to my body, I wouldn’t have gotten in that shape.
Sick caregivers cannot take care of anyone
I started to feel bad yesterday, so i took my blood pressure and it was 180/125. If I have a heart attack or a stroke, What is to happen to my father in law. No one else knows his medical background as well as i do along with his medicine list. No one else can do his bowel care or change his catheter, nor can they roll him.
What will happen to him if I go down. He would need to go into respite. That process take time ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
So my rule #1 is to take care of myself because if i don’t take care of myself, how can i take care of anyone else.
This is also a good rule to prevent caregiver burnout as well. The previous example is only the most recent example. Never ignore your own care in order to take care of a loved one. It is not good for you nor it is good for your loved one.
So the main point is to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Whether its taking an hour a day to just be by yourself so you can unwind and breath. Listening to your body because you are starting to get sick is something else you need to do as well.
While your loved one may come first in your mind, you must actually come first. If you are too sick to take care of your loved one, what will happen to the loved one?
Taking care of yourself is essential!
Have a wonderful day a give a care!