I couldn’t agree more with Ron Cain’s recent column – Caregivers must make self-care a priority (Online, Nov 12).
Yes, caregivers must take care of themselves to care for others properly and effectively; doing so is key (to improve physical, emotional, and mental health). If you’re cringing at the idea of pumping weights or wondering how you’re going to squeeze regular 10-kilometre runs into your already busy caregiving schedule, think again.
Cain explains that going to the gym is just one idea Caregivers could also “seek help, get in part-time care, accept things are not perfect when you leave but leave you must … take a walk, go to a yoga class, find a hammock and read a book – different strokes for different folks.”
As a former co-caregiver for my aging parents, I turned to writing. Watching Mom and Dad physically and mentally decline without a cure had to be one of the hardest things I have done. Sharing my thoughts, feelings (both positive and negative), and experiences proved to be very therapeutic. Having that outlet provided a means of personal coping and continues to do so – both my parents have since died away, but I have pursued writing. In addition to helping me, my writing has also helped others learn about caregiving, know what to expect, and better manage.
Whatever a caregiver chooses to do for self-care will be her own choice. This could be a new activity or a previously-loved hobby. Caregiver self-care doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Nor does it have to be time-consuming. Whatever a caregiver can do for herself will – ultimately – be of personal benefit and benefit to a loved one as well.