The Best Thing I Can Do as a Caregiver

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by Lori Dunham |

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I love taking care of people. I always wanted a family, and I’ve loved my role as a mother and wife first and foremost.

However, our daughter’s diagnosis of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome at age 14 added a whole new dimension to my caretaker duties. I was unprepared for this new role, and it took me a long time to balance taking care of myself while also taking care of my family.

One of the most important tasks of caregivers is to take care of themselves. Over time, I learned that I needed to do the following:

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Tips for LEMS Caregivers

Take time for myself

For a long while, I felt guilty if I spent any time away from the family enjoying something on my own. This was especially hard before our daughter was diagnosed, while her health was deteriorating rapidly. I couldn’t bring myself to do any of the activities that refreshed me, such as going to the beach, reading a book, or meeting a friend for coffee.

Slowly, I realized I needed these things for my own well-being. I wasn’t being negligent in my caregiving responsibilities. I was merely nurturing myself so I could continue helping my daughter.

Accept help when offered or available

I think most of us would agree that it’s easier to give than to receive. However, there are times in our lives when we desperately need to accept help.

Yes, it is humbling and hard. However, I have come to understand that blessings come from giving. We don’t want to steal that blessing from someone trying to help us.

This is a season of life in which you receive help. There will be a time, once again, when you can offer help to those in need.

Pay attention to my emotional and physical well-being

It is easy to put off taking care of ourselves both physically and emotionally when we spend our days caring for loved ones. Caregivers are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety, so we must stay vigilant. Make time to exercise, eat right, and ensure you are getting enough sleep.

Now that I recognize I need to take care of myself to fulfill my role as caregiver, I don’t hesitate to carve out some time for myself each day.

Note: Lambert-Eaton News 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 other 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 Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenia syndrome.


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