Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dying To Care

My usual intent here at 20 Mini-Vacations is to be up-beat and encouraging. Today I'm going to get serious and give you a sobering fact.

You may be dying to care.

Right now.

Shelly Webb at The Intentional Caregiver says in her June Newsletter "It's been said that almost 50% of caregivers die BEFORE the person for whom they are caring." Fifty percent. Count 'em, that's HALF! In his keynote presentation at the Raleigh Triangle Caregivers Conference Dr. Jamie Huysen confirmed this statistical fact with research to back it up.

Half of the 80 million family caregivers out there (Dr. Jamie's number) will die before their elder.

  • Because we caregivers do not take care of ourselves as well as we should.
  • Because we come up with every excuse we can think of to avoid taking a break.
  • Because we let guilt instead of common sense be our guide.
  • Because we don't think we're important enough to give ourselves even mini-vacations.
  • Because we don't trust anyone else to help, to care our way, to care the correct way.
Any of this resonate?

Dr. Jamie told his audience that caregivers who do not take care of themselves, who do not find time to laugh and play, who are in the caregiving role 24/7, who do not use every supporting resource available--these caregivers can become victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. Yes, PTSD, the disorder by soldiers in war. Or these caregivers develop PTSD's milder, yet still disabling, cousin: Compassion Fatigue.

The good news? Early Death, PTSD, Compassion Fatigue. These are all PREVENTABLE.

All you need to do is to give yourself the same consideration that you give your ailing parent, your spouse, your children, your volunteer group, your pet. Put yourself at the top of your Care List.

Every day, among all the things you do for someone else, do at least one thing for yourself.

Every day. Without fail.

Then, you'll be Living to Care.

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