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Thank You Note: For Family Caregivers

November 30, 2010

Dear Family Caregiver,

You take care of a child with special needs, you take care of a parent with Alzheimer’s, you take care of a spouse with a debilitating disease. You cook, you clean, you wipe butts. You give injections, you dress wounds, you feed through tubes. You take care of finances, you deal with insurance companies, you shuttle to countless doctor appointments. You try to do the homework that therapists assign, you try to remember all the meds, you try, try, try not to screw up.

You do so much for others. What do you do for yourself?

I admire you. I’m in awe of all you do. I thank you and applaud your commitment and contributions to your loved one’s welfare. And, sometimes, well, I’m a little worried about you.

Did you know that you, as a family caregiver, are at greater risk of your own serious health problems than a non-caregiver and yet you are less likely than your non-caregiving counterpart to take care of yourself?

I know that it’s hard to remember to take care of yourself when you already wish there were 26 hours in a day … and I want YOU to know that investing time in yourself is absolutely the wisest move you can make.

Today, thank yourself by taking a good look at your life, Dear Caregiver. Do you find joy and satisfaction on a daily basis or is your life a daily grind? Are you tending to or ignoring the basic needs of your body, mind and spirit?

  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Do you eat in a healthy way?
  • Do you exercise regularly?
  • Do you rest when you are sick?
  • Do you make — and keep — medical appointments for yourself?
  • Do you do something you love every day?

Yes, changing old patterns can be challenging. Get support — from friends, from family, from me — in starting and sustaining the new patterns you choose. I’m always here to hear your concerns, share your burdens and offer you new ways to look at things. I welcome your comments, your e-mails and your calls. I believe in your potential to create the life you want, and I’m committed to helping you make that happen.

You aren’t alone on the caregiving journey. I’m a caregiver myself, and I know how you so often take care of others far better than you take care of yourself. It’s your time now. You deserve to live a full, healthy, productive life. You are well worth taking care of! It’s the best gift you could give yourself and those you love.

With sincere gratitude,
Michelle

……….

Coach’s Query

How will you better take care of yourself? Starting today.

You’re invited to share your thoughts and your own thank you note. Just write me at michelle@griefinterrupted.com.

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3 Comments
  1. wow, michelle. beautifully spoken. i need to print this and give it to my mother. my father had a stroke several years ago and she’s his primary caregiver. asking for support is her biggest challenge. she still thinks she can do it all. pam

  2. Michelle Buzgon permalink

    Thanks for visiting, Pam. I’m sorry to hear about your dad, and I can only imagine how frustrating it is for you to watch your mom try to do it all, all by herself. She is definitely in that category of caregivers who are at risk of shortening their own lives by not taking care of themselves. If there’s anything else I can do to help her frame self-care as anything BUT selfish, please let me know. ~M

  3. As a caregiver I can’t express how much I appreciate your post.

    xoxo,

    Laura

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