10 Simple Steps for the Caretaker
Have you suddenly found yourself in the role of taking care of someone else all the time. Maybe it is your beloved spouse who used to be so vibrant and energetic or perhaps an aging parent or in law. Or maybe you are caring for a child or grandchild who is ill or mentally challenged.
This post was inspired by the work of Johnny Delirious, author of the upcoming book Cocaine Addiction Cured: Helping a Loved One Survive and Thrive and a new radio show about the same topic. Many of us, caretakers as well as health professionals, are so concerned about helping the “patient” that we often overlook the very real, very important, needs of the one taking care of the patient.
Some people willingly care for someone they love, regardless of the personal toll it takes on their own time and energy and emotional well being. Others get thrust into this care taking roll, unexpectedly and feeling a great deal of resistance and resentment.
Caretakers may put on an outward attitude of devotion and having it all under control. But inwardly, the one who is not ill may be extremely stressed and unhappy, living with a sense of “Stop the world, I want to get off.” Even if you truly want to help another person, it is essential for you to evaluate the situation, enlist outside and internal resources, and to seek help when needed. You won’t feel so stressed or resentful. The patient or client won’t feel like such a burden. And your intimacy, concern and mutual caring can grow.
Here are 10 simple steps to for a caretaker to follow to provide nurturing for yourself and the other person:
1. Gain clarity about the exact diagnosis, prognosis and outside assistance required
2. Locate the appropriate external resources available to the patient.
3. Express often your love, concern and empathy for the patient.
4. Recognize and affirm the internal resources inherent within the patient.
5. Know yourself and what assistance you can and cannot give, provide, and promise
6. Acknowledge and clearly state your own needs, limitations and boundaries
7. Arm yourself with outside support just for YOU, for YOUR emotional and physical health
8. Learn and practice self-help, stress management techniques to keep yourself balanced
9. Indulge in activities that nurture your spirit and allow you to be carefree and have fun
10. Develop an accepting and higher consciousness mindset
Knowing that life is precious and fragile, that illness and pain are a natural part of life, and that everything is temporary, can help to ease your own and your patient’s suffering. If you follow these 10 steps, you can rest assured that you have done everything possible for everyone concerned.
Don’t struggle alone. Seek help if you feel you need some support. Schedule a private coaching session at www.DrEricaWellness.com.
Please remember that you DO have the strength and you WILL be able to manage, especially if you follow the 10 steps described above.