19 Jul Who Cares for the Caregiver?
My mom recently came home from the hospital and to help her recover, we have assembled an amazing team of hard-working, loving and selfless caregivers. True angels. Every one of them. Team Betty we call ourselves, all devoted to getting her back on her feet.
When it was time to take her blood pressure, we got the new in-home device out of the box, read the directions and put it on Mom. After a few errors, we tried it on ourselves to figure this thing out.
“Here, let me try.” I said as I strapped in on my wrist. And lo and behold, for the first time ever, I had a high blood pressure reading. Whoa.
“Here, you try it.” I said to Norma, one of our Team Betty angels, and her reading was high too!
”Ok, maybe there’s something wrong with it.” I said as I strapped it onto my mom’s wrist who, had a perfectly normal reading.
Norma and I just looked at each other and said “ok, so what’s wrong with this picture?”
And that got me thinking …. who takes care of the caregivers?
Caregivers in general Are notorious for helping others, often at the expense of themselves. And that is the last thing anyone in a caregiving role can do. I’ve said it before, but the oxygen theory applies here. Put the mask on yourself before helping others. If you are burnt out and don’t have what to give, then how can you possibly help anyone else?
And with COVID-19, you may very well find yourself being the caretaker of someone in your household or family who may have been stricken with the virus, who may be suffering from depression, anxiety or anything else taking them off their game at this time.
If you are parenting children, you are caregiving now, more than ever before. And perhaps this holds true for parents, partners, roommates or friends. We are in an extremely vulnerable time these days which are fraught with new challenges and stresses.
So? Who does take care of the caregiver?
Well, in short, you do. You have to be your own best caregiver. And that includes keeping up with the following:
- Getting enough sleep (top priority)
- Eating well (and not forgetting to eat!)
- Exercising (even if it seems impossible, carve out those 20 – 30 minutes a day)
- Taking time for yourself (5 – 10 minutes will do, but ideally taking a full day or two off is essential)
- Journaling or talking things out with someone (your feelings matter)
- Making time for fun (yes, fun!)
- Recharging your battery (this is crucial)
If you are suddenly finding yourself in a caregiving role, please take your self care seriously. You need your energy in tact to be of help to the one you are helping.
And as always, please share your experience in the comments section. Would love to hear about your experience.