Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Care For The Caregiver

If you’re like so many caregivers, you have a hard time taking time out for yourself. Not only because your time is at a premium, but also because you may feel selfish thinking about your own needs when the needs of your loved one are considerable. Your loved one is ill and needs you. And because you are not ill, you may place your own health and needs way down on your priority list. But you do so at risk not only to yourself, but your loved one, too. If you aren’t strong and healthy, you can’t be there for your loved one. So make it a priority to take care of yourself. That may be the most selfless act of all.

Taking care of you involves eating a healthy, well-balanced diet; getting regular exercise; and taking time for relaxation and rest. It also involves getting regular cancer screenings and testing. The latter may be ignored by caregivers, yet these may be the most important – especially for a caregiver who is a first-degree relative (brother, sister, or parent) of the person with cancer. Being a close relative may mean that you are at a higher risk for the same type of cancer. The best defense against most cancers is to find them as early as possible – when they are more easily treated.