It’s Friday and the weekend is coming. If you’re like I was there is no such thing as a weekend, the days just meld together into one v-e-r-y long day. Your activities may be a little different, but at the core it’s all the same, whether is Saturday or Wednesday, you are a caregiver. Alzheimer’s doesn’t take a break and the byproduct of working around the clock is stress.
I can remember being so tired and frustrated, I just wanted to get in bed, cover my head and cry. Of course, I had a young son, so THAT was not an option. I do recall that my son was at a friend’s house one day and I did climb into the bed, but I was so tired and had so much to do that I couldn’t rest. My mind flitted from one to do item to another and finally I got up. Honestly, it felt wrong and I felt guilty for resting in the middle of the day. Never-mind that I had been up till the wee hours the night before; never-mind that I was an emotional wreck because I was watching my favorite girl, my mom, slip away right before my eyes. Did I mention that I had a toddler at the time? I just needed to give myself permission to r-e-s-t.
My friend. No, I don’t know you, but we are bound together because we are caregivers, so you are my friend. I want to give you permission to r-e-s-t and I want you to give yourself permission to rest.
Today, and every Friday, I plan to remind you of what an awesome thing you are doing. Caring for your loved one is an amazing sacrifice and your corner of the world is a better place because of the work that you do.
Your husband may not be able to say thank you. Your wife may express her frustration with outbursts of crying, but you are appreciated and loved for what you do. So, for those who can’t articulate it, please accept this THANK YOU on their behalf. You have worked hard and will continue to work hard, maybe even harder as time goes on.
I know I am stating the obvious, but YOU ARE NO GOOD TO YOUR LOVED ONE IF YOU ARE BURNED OUT.
So, this weekend’s suggestion is to get some REST, physical rest and mental rest. I know it’s tough, there are errands to run, meetings to attend and people to see. Just think about it. When is the last time you slept in? Can you recall when last you curled up in bed (or your favorite place) with a good book? Even if it means that you sit in your car, with the seat reclined (in a safe place of course) or lock your bedroom door for a couple of hours, p-l-e-a-s-e get some rest.
Assignment: Look for a family member, neighbor, church member, community organization that can provide you a break for a few hours a week. Consider senior centers and adult day care programs as well.
Have a restful weekend,