Survival tips for caregivers

Posted - September 2018 in Living with HSP - Management & Treatment News

Ask for help, take time for yourself


HSP is not a ‘solo’ condition. It impacts and affects partners, immediate and often extended family members, occasionally neighbours and to some extent the communities that HSPers live in.


However there is a special role for people who are caregivers – and for caregiving and the relationships involved to be sustainable

– caregivers need to also care for themselves.


This is not an either-or situation. Caring for one’s self is necessary to be able to care for someone else.


. . .


Here is a newspaper article from Minnesota USA on survival tips from four caregivers:

Robin Schroeder loved her job as chief financial officer for the dairy company her great-grandfather founded in 1884. But when her parents’ health began to deteriorate almost simultaneously about a decade ago, Schroeder found it impossible to manage the demands of a multimillion dollar business, a staff of 300 and aging parents. In 2010 she left Schroeder Dairy and became a consultant. Her mother, Lorraine, had Alzheimer’s disease for 18 years; her father, Bill, had hereditary spastic paraplegia, a rare condition that affected the strength in his legs and arms, and meant he needed a wheelchair and other lifting equipment. Schroeder moved a few doors down from her parents in Roseville with her husband and daughters, 22 and 25. Her parents died in 2017, about eight months apart.


How did your life change when you became a caregiver? Everything I did, I had to consider my parents. Even though I hired staff from Home Instead, I was connected all the time because so much was unpredictable. If I was traveling for work or wanted to go to my daughter’s graduation in Fargo, no matter what I did, I had to think about my parents first. Before I started taking care of them, they were my resource, and then I became their resource. When I went to visit my sister in Texas after she got married, I had to train my other sister and brother what to do here. I was on the phone half the time I was in Texas because they weren’t the main people, and they didn’t know what to do. So I might not be there physically full time, but I was always there.


What were your biggest challenges? That the situation kept changing. The care level my dad or mom needed was fine this week and all of a sudden, my dad couldn’t transfer. We didn’t want to put him in a nursing home, so I had to figure out, how many more additional people do I need to hire? Managing all the different helpers, trying to figure out the training, there were a lot of moving parts. It’s not like you set it up and you’re done. There’s always something else happening, and it’s things I’d never dealt with before. It really came down to me figuring out what resources I needed. That was a challenge. Then my dad starting going mentally, and Mom had dementia, so now there’s the challenge of how do I communicate with them and comfort them?


What do you wish you had? It would have been nice to have another one of me — who was as involved as I was, who knew all the intimate details so they didn’t have to call me to figure out how to handle something, and no turnover. What happened was that the doctor would know this piece, the Home Instead caregiver would know this piece, the hospital, the neurologist would know this other thing. There really isn’t anybody who knows it all. So wherever you’re going, you’re constantly telling the rest of the story: No, you can’t do that to Dad because his legs don’t bend. No, my mom doesn’t like dairy, so don’t give it to her.


Survival techniques: My women friends were particularly helpful because a number of them had parents who were aging or failing or who had died. I couldn’t have done it without my husband. You had to be able to say things out loud. I love my parents, and I’d do it again. There were times it was overwhelming. I had to be able to cry or talk it out. I also have a strong faith. Being able to pray and meditate was important. And going to yoga. I had to absolutely make time to work out. Because if I didn’t stay physically, spiritually and mentally strong, I wasn’t going to be any good to my parents.


SOURCE: Star Tribune June 2, 2018

by Jackie Crosby


Ask for help, take time for yourself: caregivers share survival tips

Four caregivers in their own words

Full article:

Add your comment on this story