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Primary caregivers also need to focus on self

  |   Elderly parents, Memory assessment, Memory Loss, Seniors

We all need to accept responsibility for our relationships. Thus, we owe it to ourselves to take care of our own needs while we care for a loved one — including a person living with dementia.

How do you preserve your sense of self-worth and priorities when you are a primary caregiver for a family member who is losing cognitive abilities?

It’s not easy. Many caregivers get overwhelmed slowly as their responsibilities grow relentlessly. Often, change may be quite gradual. It’s almost like we don’t really notice what’s happening to us; we forget about taking care of our own needs. It’s like snow that has been falling gently for some time until, suddenly, it’s piled up too high to clear the driveway without help.  

It is not easy to put oneself first. However, a focus on self-care will empower you in the face of a senior in denial, or a family member who just does not understand that he can no longer make good decisions.

Culture plays a significant role. Your expectations will have an impact on the outcome of your role as a primary caregiver while balancing the needs of marriage, family, friends, and, often, work.

I have seen many caregivers in tears of frustration when they feel tremendous guilt for “not being there” for their loved one(s). I have listened when caregivers’ marriages start failing because priorities shifted — not for days, but for months and years at a stretch.

Please give Arcadia Home Care a call today. We can help you assess the type of home care your parent may need to keep him safe and as independent as possible.