I’ve been Dad’s (85, Stage 2 Alzheimer’s) and Mom’s (85, Diabetes, COPD) caregiver for five years. I recently reunited with a college pal on the internet. While we were catching up on the years via email she described her life. When I began describing mine, I realized I have no life except caregiving! I ran to the mirror to reassure myself I was still the vibrant, interesting person I used to be and freaked out – the 61 yr old woman staring back at me looked more like 161! I got in this hole because I love my parents dearly. I still love them, but I’ve realized I need more in my life. I couldn’t even guess how or where to start.
- Janet, Ft. Pierce
Millions of caregivers share your dilemma. Caregiving reality is that without help, the needs of two parents will overwhelm you and cause you to eventually stop caring for yourself. We applaud your dedication to your parents as well as your spirit for trying to reclaim your life. Here are the steps to make both easier:
Acknowledge reality: caregiving is a job and like most jobs, you’re entitled to some time off. To find the help you need for Dad, call Alzheimer’s Community Care (Martin 772-223-6351/St. Lucie- 772-460-9166; Ft. Pierce- 772 466-3261); Alzheimer’s Assn. 800-272-3900; Vero Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s Assn. 772-563-0505. For help with Mom’s COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), call the American Heart Assn. (561-697-6600; 800-242-8721).
Make a list of three-five immediate wants and needs, number them in order of importance, and get help implementing them from the experts above. Take care of your body with primary care and gynecology appointments. Take care of your soul with hair, nails, and makeup sessions.
Make it a point to find time for yourself every day. Start with only 15 minutes and increase “your” time slowly. Do this because you believe your quality of life is important as your parents.
Keep asking for help to ease your frustration and burden. Recognize your commitment doesn’t mean you have to do this alone.
At the end of each day, take a moment to congratulate yourself on all you’ve accomplished that day for your parents and for yourself.
Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services
Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©
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