Practicing Self-Care To Become A Better Caregiver

“the airlines tell us [to] put your mask on first before you help your loved one…I had to learn that if I didn’t become selfish there was no way I was going to survive this…”

Dave Nassaney and his wife lived a happy life for over 20 years. They were looking forward to spending the rest of their lives carefree after educating and getting their daughters married off. But life took a turn when his wife started complaining about headaches and suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed and speech impaired. In an instant he became more than just her husband, he became her caregiver too.

Completely unprepared, he had no idea how to be a caregiver but soon realized that in order to survive he had to take care of himself too.

Like all caregivers, he felt guilty and isolated because of wanting to do everything himself. His negativity kept people away. Unable to cope he would sometimes scream. He had become so desperate that when he was invited to attend a support group meeting, he decided to go. He met other burnt-out caregivers, suddenly he found hope again.

Dave talks about suicides caused by depression. Depression and suicides are common among caregivers, that’s why they need to take care of themselves in order to provide better care to their loved ones.

“We don’t hear about how many caregivers died, in the news…another important reminder of why caregivers need to learn to become selfish …so that their loved ones can continue to receive their care.” 

Dave proudly announces that his wife is doing great because he pays attention to himself and puts his needs ahead. Even though she can’t communicate they play games such as Pictionary and charades. Though she can’t walk, they have travelled extensively with the help of a power chair. His wife is happy and trying to live a normal life because of Dave….because he’s happy.

“You will thrive, you will be joyful and you will be the best giver of care to your loved … just remember whose mask goes on first”

If you can identify with this story, please share it with others who care for someone and help them share too. The feeling of understanding, not being alone and access to support is what keeps caregivers going.  

Sharing your story helps understand yourself — feelings, passions, hopes. It lightens the load and offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, anger or guilt. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team. 

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Source: TED Talks

This YouTube video has been curated by Caregiver Saathi. All Rights are Reserved with the original publisher and creators.

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