Primary caregivers also need to focus on self

We all need to accept responsibility for our relationships. Thus, we owe ourselves to take care of our own needs while we care for a loved one — including a person living with dementia. How do you preserve your sense of self-worth and priorities when you are the primary caregiver for a family member who is losing cognitive abilities?It’s not easy. Many caregivers get overwhelmed slowly as their responsibilities grow relentlessly. Often, change may be quite gradual. It’s almost like we don’t notice what’s happening to us; we forget about taking care of our own needs. It’s like snow that has been falling gently for some time until, suddenly, it’s piled up too high to clear the driveway without help. It is not easy to put oneself first. However, a focus on self-care will empower you in the face of a senior in denial or a family member who does not understand that he can no longer make good decisions. Culture plays a significant role. Your expectations will impact the outcome of your role as a primary caregiver while balancing the needs of marriage, family, friends, and, often, work. I have seen many caregivers in tears of frustration when they feel tremendous guilt for “not being there” for their loved one(s). I have listened when caregivers’ marriages start failing because priorities shifted — not for days, but months and years at a stretch.Please call our Care Managers at (416) 977 0050 ext 1. We can help you assess the type of home care your loved one(s) may need to keep them safe and as independent as possible.