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Caregivers deal with a lot of stress caring for their aging parent, spouse or elderly loved one.  They often put the care of their loved one before their own personal needs.  While that’s noble it can be a mistake and lead to the situation breaking down.

I often relate caring for a loved one to a crisis on an airplane.  We’re all told if the oxygen masks drop down you should put your own mask on before helping a companion with theirs.  That’s great advice on a plane because if you pass out due to a lack of oxygen you’re no help to anyone.  That concept translates very well to other situations we deal with in life.

If you a caregiver you must tend to your personal needs first.   If you don’t it can lead to a bad result for your loved one.  The reality is you can’t help anyone when you are sick or run down or burnt out.

Somewhere along the line people lost sight of this.  They assume that they must give everything they have to their loved one.  After all, they’re counting on them for help.  But caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you go out too fast you won’t last.  Pace yourself.  Take time for you.  Put yourself in the best possible position to be able to care for your loved one over the long haul.

Tending to your personal needs is not a failure.  You’re not letting anyone down.  It’s just the opposite.  You are doing what’s needed to provide the best care for your loved one for as long as possible.  Helping them to attain the highest possible quality of life while, at the same time, managing yours.

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