A Caregiver’s Manifesto
1. From here forward I will identify “Caregiving” as a clearly defined new role, and not as role reversal or any other negative associations I may have made with it in the past.
2. Caregiving is only one of the many roles I serve. I do not forget about my other roles such as: spouse, parent, friend, and employee.
3. I recognize that Caregiving is usually not convenient and therefore creates many conflicting emotions, ALL OF WHICH ARE NORMAL.
4. I clear my mind from all preconceived thoughts about Caregiving and accept each day for what it brings. This not only protects me from disappointment and discouragement, but opens me up to receive miracles.
5. I radically accept the physical and mental limitations of the person I am caring for. This allows me to direct much needed energy into productive thought and activity, rather then allowing my precious energy to be lost in a fantasy of how things “should be.”
6. I understand that to care for others I must first care for myself. It is a requirement for the physical, emotional, and spiritual energy needed to fulfill the role.
7. I understand that I alone am responsible for making time to take care of my needs. If I wait for the benevolence of others, I risk not getting my needs met, as well as feeling negative emotions such as hurt and resentment.
8. I accept help when it is offered even if my loved one opposes such help or I believe I can do it better.
9. Courage and Compassion are the attributes I am building.
10. I understand that pre-existing problems do not go away and if I need emotional help I obtain it.
11. I proactively look for tender mercies and miracles and capture them in writing to keep me balanced and reminded that I am not a victim.
12. I do not feel guilty when on vacation, spending time with friends, pursuing hobbies, or meeting my financial needs through working.
13. While I do what I can to ease my loved one’s burden, I know we are all responsible for our own happiness.
14. I respect my loved one’s ability to make their own choices whenever possible and make sure that I do not overstep by bounds when making decisions.
15. If my loved one is incapable of making choices, I base decisions on past conversations and what I believe they would want. In the absence of any such knowledge, I make decisions based on what I believe to be right along with the advice of other family members and professionals. When there is disagreement, the primary caregiver makes the decision.
16. I know my loved one is a multi-dimensional person with vast life experience, wisdom, interests, and strengths and weaknesses… just like me.
17. I am sensitive to my loved one’s need for privacy and do my best to preserve their dignity.
18. I do not blame my loved one for my feelings of loss and sadness. I own, validate, and take responsibility for my own emotions. I do not stuff my feelings, nor do I let them overpower me.
19. It’s okay to laugh.
20. I make mistakes and that’s okay.
- Caregiver’s Story Board: A New Facebook Page (barbarascovillelcsw.com)
- True Confessions of a Former Caregiver…and a darn good cookie recipe (barbarascovillelcsw.com)