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Practicing Self-Care Can Seem Impossible to Some Caregivers

OlderwomanCaregiverbbh-singapore-twFQMk_bPL4-unsplashDear Carol: I’m 76 years old and taking care of my husband who has vascular dementia. We can’t afford regular in-home help or adult day services for my husband and he can’t be left alone very long without supervision. Our friends either don’t know how to talk with my husband or else they tell me that they “can’t stand to see him like this,” so they don’t come around. I have some women friends who would come over but even when they are here I must keep tending to my husband while we visit so I tend to put them off.  I’m not really complaining except to say that I’m tired of seeing articles on how important self-care is to caregivers when I don’t see any way to do this. Frankly, it’s depressing, because these articles seem to be telling me that I’m failing in some way if I can’t do what they suggest. Yes, you’ve written them, too. Thanks for letting me blow off steam. – YR

Read the full column on Inforum to learn more about how to practices some self-care even when there seems to be no option that would work:

Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol  


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Elaine, thank you! You've helped a lot of people by taking time to tell us how you did it.
I love your last two sentences! This is the bottom line.

Dear care givers: Self care is important I found some respite care through the veterans administration because my ex husband is a 20 yr retiree. Also there’s the department of social services for people with limited income. Through my Medicare I’ve sort counseling for my mental health. Don’t be afraid to get help. When I took on the responsibility of care giving. It wasn’t long before I realized my needs were also important. Family members are young working professionals and don’t often see the need to help so rather than become frustrated I turned to every outside agency I could think of for help. There is help. One last thing I’ve done also is found some humor in my my situation. Some days for a few moments he’s in there and we laugh. And the times when he’s not I treat him as if he’s still with me.

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