Part of caregiving involves taking care of others. So when you start hearing that you should put yourself first on your priority list, you might not understand why that is so important. When you’re putting yourself last, your needs almost never get met. How long can you keep being a caregiver if you’re not getting what you need?
Is Anyone Else Taking Care of You?
Chances are really high that as a family caregiver, no one is lining up to take care of you. You’re responsible for your own needs, like making sure that you eat and that you get plenty of sleep. There may be people who check in with you periodically about these issues, but do they do any of it for you? You’re probably on your own with that.
Look at Your Priorities
So where do your own priorities lie now? You’re likely making sure that your senior eats, that she’s taking her medications, and that she’s overall doing what she needs to do to remain healthy. But if you’re skipping meals, that means your own nutritional needs aren’t being met. You need to be placing a higher focus on what you need in order to help you to manage your senior’s needs more effectively.
Let Go of the World “Selfish”
You’re probably going to get some push back from people you love when you shift your priorities. You might hear quite often that you’re being selfish. That’s not the case, though. Putting yourself first is going to help ensure that you are able to take care of your senior and that’s the furthest thing from a selfish act. What would truly be selfish would be prioritizing your needs and never doing anything for anyone else. Get the definition right and then let go of the word in relation to yourself and to caregiving.
Give it a Shot
What’s the worst that could happen if you gave this idea a try? The worst-case scenario is likely that you’d decide that you don’t want to be a caregiver anymore but that probably won’t happen. The best-case scenario is that you’ll have the energy and the focus that you need to keep on caregiving when you worried you were going to burn out.
Putting yourself higher on your own priority list feels weird when you first try it out. You’re there to be a caregiver, which inherently means you’re taking care of someone else, so it’s not comfortable. But you can’t take care of others unless you’re able to do so and that means taking care of yourself first.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Newton MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.
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