HELP FOR THE HELPERS
Injury lawyers see parents, grandparents, children, spouses and siblings stretched to the max just trying to deal with their loved one’s car crash or slip and fall injuries. Family Law Act claimants (close family members with a companion claim) struggle to help during the lawsuit and ultimately must continue to struggle for years after the case has ended.
Caregivers become de facto support workers, cheerleaders, counselors, advocates, lobbyists and researchers for the injured. Stress, exhaustion, depression and financial strain pile on caregivers and many reach a breaking point. Sometimes they forget or feel they just don’t have the time or the right to take care of themselves. But caregivers must carve out time to look after their own needs and have every right to acknowledge and fight for their own health and well being. You are not being selfish. And you are not being weak.
Before that breaking point is reached, there are resources that may be able to help the helpers:
- Your Family Doctor: is likely already deeply concerned about your own physical health and your own inattention to YOU. Family doctors have access to a range of local, community based services and initiatives that may be tailored to your own personal situation. Your family doctor can be a true facilitator to help you find services for you. Don’t overlook your own doctor. Don’t neglect yourself. Don’t forget to reach out and ask her and her staff for help. Make an appointment today for a physical check-up and a talk with your family doctor;
- Exercise: is often overlooked and dismissed as simplistic or too time consuming or just too much to bother with. But exercise, good health and a positive lifestyle start with baby steps. A 20 minute walk around the block. A fast, daily 10 minute walk around the interior of your own basement or rec room when the sidewalks are too icy to deal with. Dust off that old exercise DVD that you meant to check out months ago but forgot all about. Download a free exercise app that lets you put your ears and mind in another space. Even modest exercise is a proven stress release. It’s your time and your chance to do something great for yourself;
- Your Family, Friends & Neighbours: will know that you are a caregiver but may not really know just how much stress you are under. Usually there is someone who can lend a sympathetic ear and help support you when you need and crave that half hour of me time. Many of us have an organic support network already in place that we never really think about. Now is the time to reach out; and
- Professional National & International Organizations: such as Brain Injury Canada, the US caregiver.org and Family Caregiver Alliance, can be a helpful launch pad for you to reach out and find information and resources. At the very least, their websites and articles let you know that you are not alone and that millions of other hardworking, caring people are struggling with the very same issues.
You are not alone and you are not the only one facing this battle.
Acknowledging that you are human and have limits may ultimately help not just you but your entire family and your injured loved one. Be your own champion and empower yourself.
Give yourself permission to ask for help. Your family will thank you for it.
Who Takes Care of the Caregivers?
It’s estimated that as many as 4 million Canadians have become informal and unpaid caregivers for family (Brain Injury Canada). That’s a huge number of unsung heroes battling every day to help a loved one while struggling to get by with their own lives, work and burdens.
Give Yourself Permission To Ask For Help