I’ve been thinking about the tenacity, creativity, and stamina required of caregivers. If you’ve ever been a caregiver, you may see some of yourself reflected in those words.
One needs to be a tenacious advocate for an ill loved one as they try and navigate a confusing and often confounding health care system. There is a lot of creative problem solving that happens, especially if you are caring for a person living with dementia. Stamina? Oh yes! Caregiving is a beautiful and honorable commitment, but it can be exhausting, physically and emotionally, and it takes a deep well of stamina to keep going some days.
The advice caregivers always get is to take care of themselves. While that’s good advice, it is easier said than done. I was not good at remembering to take a break for some self-care after hauling a walker or wheelchair into and out of the car for medical appointments while trying to stay several steps ahead of my father who was addled and agitated…confused in the fog of dementia. I don’t have time to take a nap after picking up my mom’s meds, making her something to eat, making sure she is safe, and then going back to work. I acknowledge my caregiving tasks are not as heavy as those that others conduct every day.
If you’re not a caregiver right now, you will be. By 2030, more than one in five Minnesotans will be older adults in need of increasing levels of care.
So, how do we keep from running on fumes? How do we fill our tanks? I’ll ask those questions to my KARE-11 broadcast colleague, Karla Hult, April 23, 2023 in a special event sponsored by ArtReach St Croix. Register here. If you can’t make it, let me know how you fill YOUR tank!