From Everyday Health, Written by Joey Corsica
Why do we do what we do? Because we CARE. We are Caregivers. And it is our joy and our task to care for the ones we love. Whether you are a spouse, a child, a nurse, a nurses aid, or a social worker you give your energy and time to those you care for. When you become responsible for monitoring every small necessity of life for another person who desperately needs you it becomes easy to forget about your own health and well being. What you must remember is that your life, your energy, and your ability to adequately provide care for someone depends vehemently on your own health and well being. And so this brings me to the concept of self care.
We are all responsible for our own health. The people who depend on us, our spouses, our children, our parents — they all depend on to be as strong as possible and give them help when they need it. Caring for someone with dementia means they always need it. So a crucial part of caring for others is taking time for yourself to recover. I’d like to bring to light how participation can help caregivers of all types.
All too often I see family members come visit patients and sit and watch sessions, or well witness nursing aids drop of clients in sessions and run outside for a quick break.
Participation helps to heal. For family members spouses and children experiencing the joy of dancing with a loved one again and seeing them come to life is more self gratifying than any new drug or treatment. For nursing aids a light nap or rest is good but, dancing releases endorphins making us laugh and smile and allows us to enjoy our work. The connections we build dancing with someone, developing trust, sincerity, and love help make our jobs in all care giving roles smoother and less confrontational because of the bonds we have attained.
2. Experience Joy
It is very easy to get bogged down by the harsh realities and experiences of life. Whether we’re feeding someone, bathing someone, cleaning soiled clothing or bodily fluids it can make the relationships we have very cold of cynical and experiencing time with a loved one or client in a new fun, active way renews the well of empathy and respect. Reminding us that we all have a greater capacity for joy no matter what our current condition.
We all need it and can never get enough. There is never enough time and what better excuse than to dance and move and shake. Like anyone of those dance fitness classes at the gym the more you move, the more you benefit. So jump in no matter how silly you feel to all the activities, yoga, singing, and of course dancing.
Ballroom and partner dance teaches people is to be responsive and have patience with others. It is a collective sport. The extreme amount of patience it takes to care for someone with dementia can easily be tested and trying an activity like this together can humble the spirit and give us new insight and empathy.
5. Take time to yourself
As impossible as it sounds, there are organizations which provide activities for caregivers. These programs accommodate caregivers and often coincide with patient activity times.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you are selfish, it actually shows that you care and you deserve it. Just remember the better, stronger, healthier and happier you are the better those you care for will be.