My husband, Walter, is attracted to the Navajo term for harmony which is “walking in beauty.” There is a sense of peace and quiet associated with that. I think as caregivers, we deal with that conundrum daily. How do we keep a sense of balance in our own lives when we are living with someone who may not be in balance neurologically or physically? We can only find that sense of harmony when we meet our own needs as well as meeting those of the people we care for.
Caregivers are usually going over and above meeting the needs of that special person we love who is contending with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or the other disease paths necessitating our help. Often, we give up taking care of our own needs because it is easier or we are just too weary to do more. Or, we may feel guilty if we take time away from our loved one to do something just for ourselves. We might even feel selfish.
Remember, however, that your loved one can only receive good care if you are feeling good too. We would not hire an outside caregiver if we thought he/she was sleep deprived, resentful, angry, unwell. Know that your own health is as important or more important than the person you are caring for. Two people are depending on you……your loved one and yourself.
I know that we talk about making lists, but here is an occasion when making a list may help you see what you are doing for your loved one and what you are doing for you. Divide a piece of paper in two by drawing a line down the middle. On one side write your loved one’s name and on the other, your name. Start listing the things you do in a day for your loved one and then for yourself. See if the activities are equal. If they are not, and your list is smaller, you may not be feeling and achieving that balance you may need in your life. Work on making the lists more equal and see what the results are. Take care and may you “walk in beauty”…….Regina