A surprising number of persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s have spent their entire life caretaking others rather than taking care of themselves. Friends and family alike become familiar with the “always available and reliable” caretaker of the family who is too often you!
Since caretaking is such a huge issue for persons traveling down the road to recovery, here are critical rules of caretaking to always keep close to your chest.
- Always – day in and day out – give to yourself the same care and attention that you give to others. This is the number one rule for a reason. Most caretakers violate it all the time.
- You are not an endless resource for others to take advantage of anytime of the day or night. When you are not taking good care of yourself, you can be of little help to others. Why?
- Your energy will deplete.
- Your health will deteriorate.
- You will resent taking care of others.
- Your needs will be different from your family and friends.
- You do not need to feel guilty about saying “no” to requests for assistance.
- Taking time for unwinding is time well spent. How do you best unwind? (Note the question is not how should you unwind or how do others unwind.) What helps you relax, chill out and have fun? Do it.
- Not occasionally.
- Every day.
- You are not being selfish by taking time every day for yourself and only yourself. If you do not take time out of every day for yourself, you will do a lousy job when you are caretaking family and friends.
In summary, once a caretaker, always a caretaker. The recommendation here is simple: Just be a top notch caretaker of yourself.
Robert Rodgers PhD
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease