Take Time to Breathe

Mom and Kittye left a week ago and I was attacked by a killer upper respiratory infection. I have to admit I have been a bit aggravated. Projects lined up for me to finish are just as they were last week. However, I am grateful that I have no one to take care of but me. That feels a bit weird.

I am so “on” when Mom is here. The adrenalin must flow at top volume. When she leaves, down it comes. Down I come for a week or so. I am happy for this time to equilibrate, so that I am ready for her next visit.  I wonder how caregivers do it when they are “on” 24/7 with no way to escape for renewal.

An article, Caregiver Care, in the American Family Physician journal by Lauren G. Collins, MD and Kristine Swartz, MD states, “One of the greatest risks for caregivers is becoming ill themselves.” “One in five caregivers describes his or her health as fair or poor,..”  The Framingham Stroke risk is 23 percent higher for caregivers of spouses than non-caregivers.  Mom had her strokes after caring for my dad with Alzheimer’s Disease for eight years as he was dying.  A caregiver’s health should be the number one concern, but we are like the frog that is in a pot of water and doesn’t realize that it is getting hot until it is too late.

Never feel guilty taking care of yourself.  Let go of the unnecessary(easier said than done).  Take time to breathe.  Establish a network of support, if you can.

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