When I see a person who cares for their elderly or sick family member, I always ask myself: how do they set boundaries and find time to take care of themselves? Finding that balance can be extremely difficult, but is necessary for the health and wellbeing of a caretaker.
When a family member is ill or elderly, they often require another person to step into the role of caregiver. They may rely on this person to run errands, provide transportation, and oversee their medical care. In some cases, the caregiver also feeds, bathes, and watches over the family member. This can be emotionally exhausting and mentally straining.
Applying The Oxygen Mask Theory
I believe firmly in the oxygen mask theory – that, before you can provide help and care for another, you must first take care of yourself. That’s why support and community are so important to both caretakers and their loved ones. To be a good caregiver, you need to be caregiver to yourself first.
Meeting with other people who are in the same position as you can offer moral support, caring, a safe place to share your feelings, and an opportunity to exchange strategies and experiences. It can also offer an opportunity for a therapist or psychologist to help you develop healthy boundaries.
It’s very easy to lose yourself in taking care of someone else. For all of you out there who are caretakers, tell me – how do you do it? I’d be interested to read your experiences in the comment section below.