May 17, 2012

Meeting our own Needs

"Why do people never ask how I'm doing?" one wife who is quoted in The Caregiving Wife's Handbook by Diana B. Denholm

I have not read this book, but the excerpt I did read says the book talks about the anger, sadness, exhaustion of caregiving; plus some crucial survivors tips:  "Ask for help; get away occasionally; and, yes, have a little fun."  Sounds like sound advice; but - from experience I know it may be very hard to do.  One of the characteristics of Lewy Bodies Dementia heard from many caregivers is the strong resistance from the care receiver for the caregiver to have respite.  We still are dealing with that issue; even with Dwane in assisted living.  He still expects me to make the way smooth for him; to iron out every little wrinkle.  When visiting him today to take him to various appointments, I was struck by how much more built-in social interaction opportunities he has than I do -- unless I create the opportunities.  We not only need "to get away occasionally", we need to make sure our needs are met first.  Just like on an airplane when we are instructed to put on our own oxygen masks before helping others; we must meet the needs of our own well being before helping anyone else -- to include the care receiver.

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