Caregivers Need Attention, Too

Caregivers Need Attention, Too

Sherri Journeying Through

Living with a chronic illness can create stress, anxiety, and more. This is not only true for those with an illness, but also their caregivers — perhaps even more so. It is often up to caregivers to care for themselves, along with their loved ones who can no longer adequately do so. 

Caregivers often can feel forgotten, taken for granted, and alone. Sometimes they feel stretched to the point of snapping like a rubber band.

In addition to being a caregiver to someone they love, many also work outside the home. This often involves more than one job to put food on the table. With an already heavy load, some also have children and bear the brunt of raising them. Caregivers might not receive help. They find no reprieve from changing the beds and preparing the meals, or from cleaning up spills and scrubbing stains.

As people with chronic illnesses who still are in a pretty good place physically, mentally, and emotionally, we need to be sensitive to those around us who care for us in ways we can no longer do for ourselves. We need to be aware of how our chronic diseases may affect our partners, children, other family members, and friends, too.

Are we impatient with them? Cranky? Do we expect too much, too often? Can we do things that we expect our caregivers to do? Have we become lazy in cleaning up after ourselves, relying on others to do it when we are capable? Are we helping that rubber band to snap?

As someone with Parkinson’s disease or any other chronic illness, it’s important to be aware of how caregivers are doing, if possible. Do they seem tired or worn down? Do you find yourself being short with them? Impatient? Has it been a while since you thanked them for all they do? Do you encourage them to go out and do something for themselves, such as taking a walk, eating lunch with a friend, or getting a massage? 

Some of us may be in a place where we need someone full-time. If that’s the case, it may be challenging to do more than just be grateful, patient, and thankful. In some relationships, that may be all that is needed for a caregiver to feel appreciated. Sometimes, all a caregiver needs to feel refreshed, even if for a moment, is a sincere “Thank you.”

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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Sherri was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's disease over fifteen years ago. She can be found working in her garden, going for walks, taking pictures, or reading books to her three favorite grandkids. Taking life somewhat slower, and perhaps with guarded steps, but she’s not giving in.

3 comments

  1. Arlene says:

    Im a caregiver thats my job. Just recently told ive got Parkinson’s scared im not going to be able to go to work anymore with my slowness balance tremors. Where do i go from here?

    • Hi Arlene – I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Don’t let it take over. Maybe the person who will need the most caregiving now is you. Be patient with yourself. Things will be slower but not all at once. THings will be unbalanced but not all at once. Tremors will sneak in but you will be able to handle it. It’s going to be a different life, but you can do it. Get into an exercise group (Rock Steady Boxing is what I recommend). Find a support group (in person or online- if you go online I can give you a few that you might enjoy). Find a movement disorder specialist – super important if at all possible – again I might be able to help. I am here for support – any time. -sherri

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