Remembering self-care while caring for others

This title sounds much too obvious to blog about. But when a loved one is in need, it doesn’t usually matter, we make sacrifices to help them. And sometimes, can forget about our own needs in the process. This can be true for taking care of our children, pets and/or parents.

It is not even the caring for someone else and not doing our own treatments but the stress and worry that can make us sick. I know that I am a worrier, wish I was a warrior.

I am at the age where my mom is getting on in years and needs help with her health care. She has many health issues yet lives alone and two hours away by car from where I live. Helping her care for herself and remain independent means, I am there almost every week for 2-3 days.

I try to take her to her physicians so I know what they tell her. Because I like to know what is going on with the regimen they are prescribing, her list of medications, test results, and then changes to her existing medications. This way, I know she is being compliant and following instructions.

As her health has declined, she is more tired and has less energy for daily errands. I help with things like supermarket shopping, going to the post office to pick up her mail, and light cleaning/cooking. At a certain point though, I was finding that I was very stressed and tired by this. My health care regimen is a full-time job and now I am helping someone else manage their health. Why do I do this? Because, I can! Of course, my mom sacrificed for me when I could no longer function independently. I could do a lot less than she can now.

But just because I can handle it now, doesn’t mean I can do it forever. I know I have to find a balance so that we can both remain as healthy as possible for the foreseeable future. In going through this process, and learning as I go, I see areas in which to delegate and ask others for help when possible. I also know how important rest is to me and for healing in general. I try to prioritize a nap and exercise when things are getting too hectic and tiring. Both help reduce anxiety.  I try not to schedule accomplishing unrealistic goals for one day but spreading them out to several days. Even though I prefer to get it all done in one day, it can be better to space out the errands and appointments so self-care is possible.

I know that helping others can feel gratifying and rewarding. As I want to continue to help my mom, just not at the cost of my own well-being and health. This is a process. If you have any suggestions, I gladly welcome them.

One thought on “Remembering self-care while caring for others”

  1. I have a similar situation with my 88 yr old Mother. For several years I have been fixing her medicine box, taking her to doctors, grocery, beauty salon, paying her bills, etc. I had concerns about what she would do if I couldn’t continue her care. Last year I found a multi-level care, not for profit church based retirement community. She is now in an independent living apartment there & I still do pretty much the same things, but if her health or mine declines I know she will be taken care of there. Maybe there is something like this close to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *