Five Caregiving Tips to Help Save Your Sanity!

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					Someone asked me the other day to list five (only five) things that EVERY
caregiver should know...five things that would really help them figure
things out. It was a big challenge for me, because there are hundreds of
things someone needs to know. But I wracked my brain for a few days and
decided that these were the TOP FIVE!1. Now don't freak out! You don't
have to be a CAREGIVER!I know that statement makes you really
uncomfortable, doesn't it? The truth is that you don't have to be a
caregiver. There is no law that says you have to and there is no
punishment (except for your guilty conscience) if you decide not to. This
statement should be freeing for you, because it means you have a choice
and choice means that we are then guided by our ATTITUDE. When you change
your attitude from one of obligation and servitude, then you are free
from all of the baggage that accompanies the "I have to" attitude. You
get to decide what the caregiving journey looks like for you and your
loved one. Once we accept that "have to" is not part of the scenario,
then we bring a more positive energy to the whole process. No one likes
to be told, "You have to do this or you have to do that." The same is
true with caregiving. What you do have to do is DECIDE that you will
assume the role, but also that you will be very clear about what you can
do; what you can't do; what you will do and what you won't do. It will
take some getting used to, but if you change your attitude and realize
that you indeed have a choice, the journey will be better for you and the
person for whom you are caring.2. Caregiving needs to be set up like a
BUSINESS and you are the CEO of the business.Think about this for a
minute. There are legal, financial, medical and physical components that
accompany caregiving and sometimes there are even employees who need
managing, especially if you hire outside caregivers to assist you. There
is also the day-to-day scheduling combined with the emotional feelings.
All these moving parts need to be managed. Set up caregiving like you
would a business from the very beginning and your life will be infinitely
easier. Most caregivers have not done this step and this is when the
financial issues become overwhelming. You really need to consider putting
systems and procedures in place that everyone can easily follow. Having a
roadmap for the business of caregiving is extremely beneficial.3. You
cannot do Caregiving ALONE!You absolutely must have a support team in
place and this support team involves your family, your friends, and
anyone who can help you get this job done. Many caregivers are afraid to
ask for help. For some reason they think they should be able to do this
by themselves. They quickly learn, however, that it takes more than one
person to care for an aging loved one.4. Stop trying to FIX what is wrong
and embrace the role of ADVOCATE!This one tip will change the way you
view your caregiving responsibilities. You can't fix the aging process
and that's what you are faced with. You can, however, become an advocate
and you can never underestimate the importance of advocating on behalf of
someone who cannot advocate on his/her own behalf. When you are trying to
fix everything you set yourself up for disappointment. Be realistic about
what you can do and stop trying to fix the impossible. Instead, become a
strong advocate.5. You Matter! Learn to embrace and practice SELF CARE
each and every day.Caregiving takes a physical, emotional and mental toll
on our lives and you must learn to be clear about your personal needs and
put yourself at the top of the pyramid. You've read all the articles
about caregiver burnout. Perhaps you've heeded them, but most caregivers
think it will never happen to them. When it does, the rug is really
pulled out from under you. Caregiving is a beautiful gift to another
person, but you are not meant to lose your life while doing it. Become
proactive today!

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