Caring for a Caregiver
Updated: Aug 2, 2018
As a caregiver you feel like you must drop your entire life in order to care for another, which is an understandable feeling but not true. Your life has just shifted in a matter of seconds and now you have been placed in a situation you were never prepared for. This will not be an easy transition, but I promise you that there are ways to care for someone while still caring for yourself.
After my car accident where I sustained a severe TBI, my mother and father had to make a decision. Knowing that they both could not leave their jobs, one had to make the sacrifice. Obviously, a sacrifice they didn’t mind making, knowing they would be doing it for the son they loved. The fact that my mother was self-employed and working from home made the decision easier but still was not an easy transition. Hours of work soon turned into hours of being a caregiver. While being a caregiver is a job, there is no way to determine it’s worth.
As a parent, you became a caregiver the day your child was born but this caregiving is completely different. Instead of having a little child hitting and screaming at you, you now have a young adult. As a caregiver you are not only taking on the physical tolls but also the emotional, spiritual and financial tolls. Eventually you begin to realize that you have had no time to take care of yourself. That is the reason I am sharing this blog.
“Rock a bye” caregiver: If you have a child, you know how hard it is to catch sleep. Someone caring for a TBI survivor may have difficulty getting enough sleep. TBI patients may suffer from constant migraines, take meds every couple of hours or have nightmares. This means that the caregiver’s sleep is disrupted. In addition, they also suffer from the stress of worrying about their loved one. Sleep is vital for every person and most importantly if you are taking care of another person. Breathe, do not worry. If you are worried about tomorrow, then let tomorrow be the day, you worry. Tonight is your time to sleep. Live in the moment and most importantly, sleep in the moment.
Work together: When you put your survivor through their daily exercises for the day, whether it be physical or mental, don’t just give them the exercises. You can go through it with them. This will be rewarding for them and for you. This is a prime example of “Two birds, One stone” and will relieves some stress for both you and your mighty warrior.
Get out and have some fun: A wife should never have to be a wife 24/7, be a friend, a sister and mother. Being a wife 24/7 probably is very tiring. It is the same for caregivers. You do not have to be a caregiver 24/7. I know you believe that it is selfish for you not to be but I promise it is not. Go be a friend, a dancer, a singer, a brother, sister, writer or speaker. Go be you. Get someone you trust to watch your warrior for a little bit. You’ve got this.
It is time to care for the caregiver. Relax, have fun, drop the stress out of your life even if it is just for an hour each week. Start somewhere. As a survivor, we want you to live. We do not want our survival to be your reckoning. Love you all! Have a wonderful day and even better tomorrow.