As caregivers we must honor ourselves, something that we at times neglect to do. After all, from our earliest memories, we have always been told to honor our mother and father. Unfortunately, many of us believe that honoring our mother and father somehow means neglecting our own wants and needs. But is that what our parents really want for us? Is caregiving to the point of exhaustion and despair really honoring your parents?
By honoring your own needs, you’re not only achieving your parents’ goal for your life (most parents want what’s best for their children, don’t they?), but you’re also keeping yourself healthy and sane so that you can take care of them as time progresses.
If you have children of your own, remember that your behavior toward your parents now will be a model for how your kids will act toward you someday if they’re confronted with the same situation. Wouldn’t you want your children to help you out of love – but still take time to nourish their own lives – rather than serving you hand and foot with anger and resentment building all the way?
For most parents, the goal of raising children is to make them self-sufficient to pursue their own goals and dreams – not to be slaves to caring for their parents. Thinking of your children, or nieces and nephews if you don’t have your own kids, can help you focus on the role you should play in your own parents’ care.
ALEXIS ABRAMSON, Ph.D. is cited as America’s leading, impassioned champion for the dignity and independence of those over 50. Abramson is the author of two highly acclaimed books — The Caregivers Survival Handbook and Home Safety for Seniors. For more information go to www.alexisabramson.com.
Ó 2011 AJA Associates, LLC