Life Lessons from Caregiving

Occasionally I get an email from someone who is a new caregiver asking for advice on how to adjust to this new role they have acquired.  Here are some of the life lessons I’ve learned from caregiving.
I can’t be perfect.
Not that I ever was but I’ve always had the personal philosophy that if I was going to do anything, I wanted to do my best if not be the best.  I didn’t just want to do a good job; I wanted to do a great job.  I did not like failing and so to avoid that negative feeling, anything that I wasn’t naturally good at doing, I would tend not to do. I would engage in only those things where I could be a success. I took that approach to caregiving, too.  I started out wanting to be the perfect wife and caregiver while simultaneously being the exemplary employee in my job.  I was depressed and frustrated and heading down a slippery slope till I broke down one day and Lynn and I discussed what my new reality needed to be. My goal now is to do a good job at everything and exceed where I can, but to recognize I can’t keep up the pace needed to be excellent. That’s hard for me to accept but necessary for survival.
Learn to say, “No.” 
I am a people pleaser.  I usually said “yes” to any request for assistance and I volunteered to help out when someone had a need.  My new reality is that even as much as I want to be part of the drama team at church or sing in the choir, or even attend a support group, Lynn needs someone with him 24/7 and most of my friends and family members need to care for their own families after 5 p.m. or on weekends when those types of activities usually occur.  I frequently see requests to assist with one type of mission activity or another or even I hear that my daughter needs someone to keep her sick child; but I have to say, “No.”  Right now, Lynn’s health and safety have to take priority so I can’t allow myself to over-commit.  I have to set priorities and stick with them or I’ll collapse from exhaustion.
Ask for help. 
continue reading at: http://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/life-lessons-caregiving/

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4 thoughts on “Life Lessons from Caregiving”

  1. Good advice. I am learning slowly because I cannot be all things to my husband with MS and our kids and myself and my business…and..and…and. Im sure you get it.

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