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Stroke Smart Magazine

July/August 2007

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Last Word

"The Best Caregivers"

The best caregivers make provisions for their own care.

Some people in your situation think,
“If I make time for my self-care, I am being self-indulgent.”
Others are so immersed in their daily responsibilities that
it just doesn't occur to them to consider their own needs.

You have heard the standard message of flight attendants:
“In the event of sudden loss of cabin pressure,
place the oxygen mask over your own face
before putting it over the face of a child traveling with you.”
If you don't assure your own oxygen, you'll black out.
Then what assistance will you be to that child?

Similarly, if you don't take steps to assure your own well-being
as a caregiver, you won't be able to provide
consistently good care for the one who so needs it.

So it is crucial to take charge of your physical health —
nourishing food, gentle or invigorating exercise, regular rest.
It is important to schedule times you can look forward to,
when you can relax, or do what you enjoy,
or do nothing at all if that feels right.

You can let others care for you,
just as someone else allows you to care for them.

It is easy to fall into trying to be Super Caregiver,
so remember how much more at ease the other feels
when you can be something much more life-giving:
a fully human caregiver.

The more naturally you can be yourself,
the more readily the one in your care
can relax into being just who they are.

What could be better?

An excerpt from This Time of Caregiving, a book of words and encouragement by James E. Miller with Christen Pettit Miller 2007 Willowgreen Inc. To order a copy of the book for $3.95, go to http://www.willowgreen.com/ or call (260) 490-2222.


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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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