Home care-givers need care too but often in the midst of caring for another’s needs they neglect their own. Care-giving is stressful physically, mentally and emotionally. To be a care-giver is an act of love which can feel over-looked by those who take for granted what you do. All too often the responsibility of care-giving for a family member falls upon a spouse, sibling or child who is not necessarily trained for the multitude of tasks involved with increasing needs. Love and years knowing the other person while wanting or needing keep their loved one to be comfortable and to live with dignity is all that keeps the care-giver going. So often until you live the day-to-day commitment of looking after every detail for someone who is no longer capable of doing it for themselves do you fully appreciate the dedication involved. No matter what you are doing, where you are, awake or asleep, as a care-giver you are ‘on call’ 24/7.
As a person who has been a care-giver professionally first, and then for last 10 years of my mother’s life caring for her at home I speak from my heart. As a professional care-giver it was never my sole responsibility as I had a team to rely upon for help. At the end of a shift I could leave and feel comforted that someone else would be there in my absence. Caring for my mother in our home and witnessing the deterioration of her mind, body and soul was much more difficult. Trying to be an inspiration, a spark in her day, a comfort, a thread of hope required constant awareness, love and focused attention which sometimes felt like a struggle. While in the process of caring for my mother with alzheimer’s I could go through the whole emotional scale of feelings quickly. One moment life felt normal and then just a cry, a bang that meant she had fallen or even an extended silence could put be on edge. What I found the most difficult was knowing it would never get better, only worse. To look after her daily needs day after day sometimes felt like a double-edged sword. It was a gift to know I was helping and making life easier for her and it is was also difficult to know I was solely responsible for her every need.
What I do know is: IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT HOME CARE-GIVERS NEED CARE TOO!
As a care-giver your body, mind and soul require love and appreciation. Proper nutrition, uninterrupted rest, laughter, and time to do what sparks your soul is not only essential but allows you to be a better care-giver. To ignore your own needs will wear you down physically, emotionally and spiritually.
As much as you may think you are the only one who can care for the needs of the one you love, if you don’t love yourself too you will suffer. Since I began coaching 8 years ago I refer to ‘Ask and It Is Given’ Learning to Manifest Your Dreams by Esther and Jerry Hicks as my guide to raise my vibration and feel better. I have learned to ‘check-in’ with my thoughts and how I am feeling in any given moment. I ask myself questions and have become so much more honest with what I feel instead of covering those emotions up. I have learned to ask for help and am always surprised as to how help shows up.
I DO understand how time and money seem to get in the way of asking for help. I GET IT that when going through the process of caring for another it feels over-whelming and exhausting. I KNOW and feel the wave of emotions that flow in and out, and how it is difficult to ask for help when we need it the most. I also believe that as a home care-giver you need help too. The person you are caring for does not want to see you suffer or deteriorate. Your health and wellness matter! YOU MATTER! Ask and allow it to be given. Even if you are not sure what you want or need in the moment put the question out ‘there’ and listen. Listen to what your body, mind and soul are wanting. Be the care-giver of your needs and you will be a stronger, happier and better care-giver for the person you love.
I welcome your comments and although I do not publish them all I do read them. If you have a personal email and would like a reply I am happy to do so. I am also available for a free consultation, just submit your name and email in the area to the top right of the page. And….remember YOU MATTER!
I am forever grateful for the years caring for my mother. Every day I learn something new and discover how much we were alike, and yet how different. It is the contrast that allows me to see and discover more awareness of who I choose to be. Two years have passed since mom’s death and now it is time to support my aunt in her last days.
If you need someone to talk to, support you emotionally, encourage you or just be available to listen I invite you to reach out. Ask for help. Often people want to help but don’t know how. By not asking you aren’t caring for your needs. Life-coaching is an excellent service available. Choose a coach that aligns with your morals, needs and wants. Contact me.http://wendymackaycoachinginc.com/contact-wendy-mackay/