What is your approach to new year’s resolutions? Some say “This year will be different. I am going to follow through on my resolutions”. While others say, "Never mind! I have been down this new year’s resolution road way too many times and I'm not setting myself up for failure anymore." And then there are those who mock the whole idea of making resolutions. Just last week, a caregiver shared she had enough going on in in her life and didn’t need to add more pressure by committing to a new year’s resolution.
Well, what if you chose to use a Caregiver Bill of Rights instead of resolutions to guide you through 2020?
A Caregiver Bill of Rights
This powerful list first appeared in Jo Horne’s book “Caregiving: Helping an Aging Loved One” (AARP Books, 1985). It is a helpful reminder on bad days that you cannot do everything, that you do not need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself, and that you deserve support and recognition for the care you provide.
I have the right:
- To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of my loved one.
- To seek help from others even though my loved one may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
- To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I provide care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything I reasonably can for this person and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
- To get angry, be depressed and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
- To reject any attempt by my loved one [either conscious or unconscious] to manipulate me through guilt, anger or depression.
- To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness and acceptance for what I do for my loved one for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
- 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.
- 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.
- To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid persons living with illness, physical or mental challenges in our country, similar strides will be made toward aiding and supporting caregivers. (www.caregiversalberta.ca)
Wishing all family caregivers a Happy and Healthy New Year!