Caregivers who recognize their own need for peace and a place of
respite – and are willing and able to ask for and accept the help of
others – will greatly increase what they have to give to those they
It is ironic that there are things you must lose to find and give
away to possess.
I have found self-sufficiency to be one of those things. Just when
I think I have it I realize I need the help of those around me and when
I assist others I receive what I need.
Finding peace and a place of respite is critical
for a family caregiver.
This is very true in caregiving.
We Americans are a self-sufficient people, sometimes to our own
Some family caregivers take the attitude that they need to stand
tall and do it on their own; do their duty; this is, after all, their
family and therefore their problem and no one else should be
Caregivers and the rest of us can learn that, when it comes to
peace and a place of respite, we must be willing to lose what we
have in expectation that we will find again, in even greater
quantity and, we must be willing to give away what we already
have to possess again.
If we don’t learn these valuable lessons we run the risk of pushing
ourselves so hard that we end up with serious health issues.
Stress can push us to the point of mental break, we can become ill
or worse, pass away before the person for who we care.
Caregiver strength can come not from isolation and determination
but from community.
Real strength comes when we realize that we can’t do it alone,
when we reach out to help someone else in need, when we learn
not to horde our strength but give it away to make others stronger.
When I was a child I learned a simple way to keep myself safe
when crossing the street, “Stop, Look, Listen.” And now we can
use this simple rule to help us learn to help others.
Stop: give yourself a chance to pay attention to others.
Look: take a real look at those around you and pay
attention to them. We can discern many things
about others just by the way they look, are they
frazzled, stressed, worried?
Listen:ask others how they are doing and then be
prepared to listen.
Try to find those in need, those who are trying to do it all
themselves and look for opportunities to help.
• Is there someone at work who is caring for a disabled or special
needs child or a parent?
• Is there someone at church or synagogue that always seems to
struggle with child or parent? They may not come often because
getting out of the house can be a real challenge.
• Do you have a neighbor or friend who seems out of sort lately?
Remember, there are things you must lose
to find and give away to possess, these are
the most valuable things like love, peace
and a place of respite.
Sometimes professional caregivers can
play a role in helping family caregivers
maintain health and balance in their lives.
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