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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About mscaregiverdonna

I am a full-time caregiver for my spouse who has Multiple Sclerosis while I try to work full-time, take care of our home, and handle any number of other functions that used to be shared by the two of us. I'm learning that it's amazing what you can do when you have to and when you have God to send you the resources you need to manage moment by moment.
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4 Responses to Life Lessons from Caregiving

  1. rich walcott says:

    Please take me off your list

    _____

  2. Alana Clark says:

    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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