A Caregiver’s Bill of Rights

Helping Lynn during family gathering

Helping Lynn during family gathering

 By Jo Horne

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 does not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy.  I know that I do everything that 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 attempts by my loved one (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt, and/or depression.

To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do, from my loved ones, 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 physically and mentally impaired persons in our country, similar strides will be made towards aiding and supporting caregivers.

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3 Responses to A Caregiver’s Bill of Rights

  1. sg says:

    Lovely, thank you. Am currently at a stage where this creed is particularly difficult – “To get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.”

    • I don’t think it’s ever very easy to give ourselves permission to be angry and resentful but it’s natural that we have periods of feeling that way. then when we suppress those feelings, holding them deep inside rather than finding ways to express them in a healthy way, we get depressed. Often depression is anger turned inward. I fully understand how you’re feeling and struggle with these emotions more frequently than I like to admit. Find someone to talk to that won’t judge you and will just let you talk. I’ve found that helps the most. God bless you and the person you’re caring for.
      Donna

  2. Momontheside says:

    I need to print out your caretaker bill of rights and ensure that my daughter aged 15 and a quadriplegic can see it every day. The challenges of normal teenage rebellion and angst combined with the frustration of disability can and does send me spiraling into self loathing, anger and depression, particularly when she is being manipulative (usually about homework) while I know she can be to blame sometimes the challenge as her mom is not to constantly feel at fault, Glad i stumbled on your blog

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