Being a caregiver is tougher than most jobs. The concern, the love and compassion, and the list of what you need to do both as a caregiver and as an adult who has multiple responsibilities are always with you. Caregivers give up jobs, cut back hours and pay for services for their loved ones out of their own pockets. They need to put themselves first, but they tend to put themselves last. It is essential for caregivers to care for themselves in order to adequately care for their loved ones. We hope this “Caregiver's Bill of Rights” helps our caregivers remember simple ways they can care for themselves.
I have the right to take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the ability to take better care of my loved one.
I have the right to seek help from others even though my loved one may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
I have the right to maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can do for this person and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
I have the right to get angry, be depressed, and express difficult feelings occasionally
I have the right to reject any attempt by my loved one (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt or anger.
I have the right to receive considerations, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do for my loved one as I offer these attributes in return.
I have the right to take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has taken to meet the needs of my loved one.
I have the right to protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in times when my loved one no longer needs my full-time help.
I have the right to expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired older persons in our country, similar strides will be made toward aiding and supporting caregivers.
JF&CS offers several support groups for caregivers. Please contact Aviv@jfcs-atlanta.org for information.