Even the most seasoned caregiver can suffer from fatigue. Whether you have a cancer, fall prevention, or dementia care plan in place, exhaustion from caring for a loved one can take its toll on a caregiver both emotionally and mentally
Nothing is funny about becoming so exhausted that you start to fantasize about doing something radical in order to get a little rest.
However, sometimes a little humor can help us cope with difficult circumstances. This video is based on a whacky plan a very dear, elderly woman shared with me when I spoke at a caregiving conference in Wisconsin last fall.
After we turned Claudia’s story into a cartoon and put it on YouTube, I sent a link to everyone I knew. The response I got from Peggy Graul took my breath away. Peggy is the Coordinator of Continuing Education College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. This is a copy of the email she sent to me:
“I loved the video – really LOL!!! Been there! Made me remember the following time:
My twins were born with Severe Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. When they were babies and I had a healthy 2 year old, I became quite sleep deprived. I got angry and then depressed at our situation. I found myself contacting the bus station to see what tickets would cost and where I could go. We didn’t have much money, so it seemed my only option for relief. We only had one car and I didn’t want to leave my husband without transportation. I felt bad about leaving him with all this, but no real guilt was bothering me about leaving the kids at that moment. I think I thought I was doing them a favor as I was feeling so angry all the time.
Before I could take any action, my mother showed up at my door (she lived out of town and was unexpected). She sent me upstairs for a nap and she and the babysitter took over the child care. They let me sleep for over 10 hours. I never felt that way again. I was still angry and depressed, but I never again contemplated leaving…. My family and friends also stepped up their support.”
If you are caring for someone who is aging, chronically ill, or disabled, or dealing with dementia caregivers can probably identify with Claudia and Peggy. No doubt you’ve had moments when you felt like you simply did not have the strength to go on one more day.
It can be difficult to fit self-care into your routine. However, if you want to maintain the physical and emotional strength you will need to continue caring for your loved one, you must find a way to set aside some time for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
This next video “Fatigue” is the first in a series of videos titled “The 3 F’s of Flipping Out” from our new online, video-based caregiver support program. This video offers tips on how caregivers can take a break from their responsibilities and get a little rest.
In recognition of National Caregivers Month and World Alzheimer’s Month, Griswold Home Care is partnering with us to offer free one-year memberships to our caregiver support program. Go to CaregiverHelp.com , click on the “Join Now” tab at the top right-hand side of the page. Fill out the form, and in the box labeled “Coupon Code” enter this code: GriswoldFree. This will give you a $58 annual membership for free.
Caring for someone who can no longer care for him/herself is one of the most difficult and generous acts of love any of us will ever perform on behalf of another. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself credit for all the good things you do, and in recognition of National Caregivers Month I hope you’ll take a break and do something that will bring you a little pleasure and peace. You certainly deserve it!
About Elaine K. Sanchez
Elaine K Sanchez is a speaker and the co-founder of CaregiverHelp.com, an online, video-based support program for Caregivers. She is also the author of the unflinchingly honest and uproariously funny book, “Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver”. Contact her at Elaine@CaregiverHelp.com.