The Caregivers Bill of Rights is something that all caregivers should read, especially the first one. I learned this fact first hand a couple months ago when I had to go to the emergency room.
Looking back, the whole situation could have been avoided or at least caught sooner. I only needed to listen to my body and see the signs. Even though I had no health insurance, I still should have gone to the doctor to find out what was wrong.
Take care of yourself. Even when time is in short supply, taking time to take care of yourself has it's definite benefits, as I have learned first hand.
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 relative.
I have the right… to seek help from others even though my relatives may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
I have the right… to maintain facets of my own life that do 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.
I have the right… to get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
I have the right… to reject any attempts by my relative (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt and/or depression.
I have the right… to receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance from my loved one for what I do, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
I have the right… to take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my relative.
I have the right… to protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my relative no longer needs my full-time help.
I have the right… 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. © by Jo Horne, Author of CareGiving: Helping an Aging Loved One Adapted from the book, CareGiving: Helping an Aging Loved One, published in 1985 by the American Association of Retired Persons.
Go to the Caregivers Corner from Caregivers Bill of Rights for more resources for caregivers.