Caregiver, nowhere it is it written that your life, your health, your dreams and goals, come last. But so many caregivers feel this way. We feel selfish putting our needs first, or even having needs at all, when we are caring for a sick or aging family member. Our role as caregiver doesn't mean we don't matter; it means we matter a lot to someone else. And we have to take care of our own lives in order to be in a position to help someone else. To help you do that, here is the family caregiver bill or rights.
You have the right to set boundaries. You have the right to balance your own needs with the needs of the people you care for. Know your personal limits and say no to requests that push those limits.
You have the right to be healthy. No one else's health should supersede your own. You have the right to sleep, eat, exercise, and do whatever else is needed to protect your physical and mental health. You will be a better caregiver if you care for yourself.
You have the right to earn a living. You have the right to a job, and even a career. It is not only your right, it is smart to have an income source and a plan for your own retirement and future care needs. You never need to apologize for working.
You have the right to ask for and receive help. You have the right to accept that you cannot do everything. You have the right to ask for support from siblings, extended family members, friends, social workers, doctors, etc. And when they say yes, you have the right to accept their help.
You have the right to be good enough. You have the right to let the laundry pile high, leave the dirty dishes in the sink and the bed unmade. You have the right to wear yoga pants seven days a week. You have the right to serve your children cereal for dinner, again. You have the right to be good enough. Because deep down, you are actually amazing.
- You have the right to a life. Nowhere is it written that family caregivers must shelve their own lives to manage someone else's. You have a right to maintain your relationships and personal interests. Carve out time for you.
This post is adapted from the original at WorkingDaughter.com.
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