As caregivers, we have to remind ourselves of the importance our own needs. It’s so easy to get depressed, frustrated and distracted when caring for someone else on a daily basis—it’s crucial we also attend to our own needs. Maintaining a fresh outlook on life and occasionally being “selfish” is necessary for both sanity and health purposes.
The Caregiver Bill of Rights reminds us that we’re only human and offers some sound advice.
I have the right… to take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will make me more capable of taking better care of my loved one.
I have the right… to seek help from others even though my loved one may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
I have the right… to maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
I have the right… to get angry, be depressed and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
I have the right… to reject any attempts by my loved one (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt and/or depression.
I have the right… to receive consideration, affection, forgiveness and acceptance from my loved one for what I do, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
I have the right… to take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my loved one.
I have the right… to protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my loved one no longer needs my full-time help.
I have the right… to expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired persons in our country, similar strides will be made towards aiding and supporting caregivers.