COPD Caregiver Perspectives - New Year's Resolutions
What are your New Year's resolutions for 2011?Well, it's New Year's Eve and caregivers, like everyone else, are probably thinking about things they can do to improve their lives over the coming year. Making changes isn't always easy, though, especially when it comes to caring for someone with a progressive terminal illness like COPD. Believe me, I KNOW.
Still, it's always worth putting some effort into setting down goals and expectations for the future. If nothing else, it helps you see what you want to change and put together a plan for making the change. So, this week, I thought I'd suggest a few New Years resolutions you might want to think about that could help improve the quality of your life, even though you are caring for someone with COPD.
1. First and foremost, take care of yourself! You can't provide quality care for someone unless you keep yourself healthy. And that includes your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. All aspects are important. So, make healthy choices on a daily basis. Eat right, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, manage your stress, and be kind and forgiving of yourself and your loved one. You are both doing the best you can, given difficult circumstances.
2. Deal with the issues openly and honestly. Talk with your loved one about what's happening and changes you are seeing. Don't sweep it under the rug, out of fear for the future, or in hopes it will all go away. It won't. Reminisce about the past, but also prepare for the future. And live each day, treasuring each moment, to the best of your ability.
3. Help your loved one identify positive changes that could be made and support them through the changes. Sometimes it's hard for us to see what we could change within ourselves because we're too close to it. Provide that objective (somewhat anyway) perspective to the person you're caring for in seeing what they could change to make their lives better. It could be making a simple suggestion on how to better balance activity and rest. Or it might be weightier like helping them work through a quit smoking program.
4. Take a break from caregiving now and then. Caregiving is hard work, no matter how much you love the person you are caring for. It's natural to need a break now and then. Perhaps an afternoon at the park or at a movie would be enough for you. Or you might want a few days away from the stress and responsibility. You might find that other family members or even friends would be willing to help you get that break now and then... if you ask. Don't be afraid to ask for the help and support you need.
Those are just a few possible New Year's resolutions to get you started. I'm sure you can think of more. Feel free to use the comments feature below to leave your own resolutions, if you like. Happy New Year!