A New Year’s Resolution: Self-Caregiving

2017

We all hear from and tell others how important it is to take of one self as a caregiver. Lately a Caregiver’s Bill Have Rights Has Been Circulating. The suggestions make a lot of sense, in particular to take care of myself; to recognize the limits of my endurance and strength; to maintain facets of my life that do not include Ralph; to allow myself to get angry or be depressed occasionally (that’s an easy one); to stop being manipulated into feeling guilty (that’s a hard one, no manipulation required); to accept affection, and appreciation; to protect my individuality.

But in talking to others in the trenches, I find I am not alone in feeling that, even with a Bill of Rights posted one my wall, it is not always clear what taking care of oneself means.

One example: Back when Ralph and I were first dealing with his diagnosis, I loved reading about Alzheimer’s Wife’s quick trip to Paris at https://alzheimerswife.wordpress.com/?s=paris, especially since I took a similar two day trip myself. Now my daughter is about to have her first baby and I will be traveling alone quite a bit to help out (I am dragging Ralph with me when the baby arrives but he’s made clear that he does not want to leave home more than absolutely necessary). I want to go and look forward to Nana-ing, but I find myself as worried about the arrangements for him as excited about the actual travel.

The ying and yang here is the question–Do I let myself relax into the slow down, or do I try to squeeze in some activity that ends up putting more pressure on me. My resolution for the new year is to work on finding the answer, for my sake, but also for Ralph’s because he is definitely happier when I am.

But you know how resolutions usually turn out.img_0154

(PS—Happy New Year…I’ll let you know if disinterest in grandfatherhood lasts when there is a real baby for Ralph to hold in his arms)

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8 thoughts on “A New Year’s Resolution: Self-Caregiving

  1. Happy New Year! I think caregiving ones self is a matter of feeling your way. Your strength, endurance, tolerance for meeting obligations and how you generally cope with pleasure would likely guide you — but mostly how you physically and mentally feel day to day. It’s easy to take on too much, and harder to extricate oneself. The older we become we sometimes find we can’t take on as much as we once easily did, but learning that limit is a process.

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  2. I’m sure Ralph will be over the moon when he holds his grandchild. Dad loved babies and small children. Surprisingly, the more advanced his dementia the more small children seemed drawn to him. I’m rather jealous of your impending nana-hood. Quite a few of my friends are entering this stage now. I get to look after my sister’s labrador puppy – I have a feeling, though, it’s not the same at all.
    All the best for 2017.

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    1. I think when he is in the presence of the baby, his attitude will change. But I also am prepared for him not to react as I expect. Ralph’s relationships with others have changed so much, for the better in most cases actually. What matters to him is different, however, than what used to matter to him….as well as what he notices and what he brushes aside. Let’s hope 2017 turns out better than 2016 ended. I have so enjoyed getting to know you even in this limited way….

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      1. Thank you for that. If I’m talking about something I read on your blog I find myself saying, ‘My friend, Alice…’. I guess we’ve shared quite a lot of personal information over the years. If you come back to Scotland on another piping mission for your son you must let me know.

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  3. Isn’t that just a dance, though, between looking after someone properly and staying centered, balanced, healthy and all that?!! The bill of rights motivates me to think about the balance, but it’s still hard to figure out the details!
    So happy for you with new grandchild on the way. Hope you have fun with the new little being!
    I so appreciate your blog this year, and wish you all the best – under the circumstances! – for 2017.

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    1. It is a dance, you’re so right. And while the bill of rights is nice, the details are what I have trouble with. Thank you for your kind words and all your encouragement. I hope 2017 gives us both moments of joy.

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