Self-Care is Vital Part I

Caregiving For All:  February 20, 2023, Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

Self-Care Is Very Important. Since I began caregiving, I have heard these five words probably 100 times. At the beginning of my caring journey, I was reading articles in different magazines on Caregiving. Most of those lessons have been repeated time and time again. Being a Caregiver adds much more to what is Love.

° Self-care is just as important as the care you give your loved one. To love someone else, you have to first love yourself, so that you not only know what love is but also how it feels. You will hear care leaders say if you don’t take care of yourself, who will take care of your loved one as you do? Sixty percent of caregivers die or become unable to care for their loved ones. Each group is 30%

. ° Self-care helps the care-recipient learn to be under the care of others and still be well. Many helpful aids can make the life of a caregiver less hectic and worrisome. Ask your doctor, and find an online, or in-person support groups to meet with. I’m part of the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS) online caregiver group. There are many resources available. Get a fall detection device; security camera for when you are out of the home; and create a schedule of helpers that can give you a break when you need it.

° Set limits for what you can do. When you start as a caregiver, your ability to help is probably much easier. However, as you and your care-receiver age, abilities will change and become more difficult. I had major back surgery two years ago. Although my surgery was a success, I have noticed that I don’t have the strength or durability to do the same amount of caregiving. I am learning to adapt. I wear a back brace and use a belt to move or transition my wife. She doesn’t like it, but can’t take the risk, nor should I. Ask for more help. I am creating an outline for an Emergency Plan that I use for my wife’s care that originated with LSS. If something happens to me, or I am unavailable to care for her the plan is ready to implement. Emergency Plans will be addressed in a later blog.

° Take time to get away from your caregiving and do things you enjoy. In January, I took a respite trip to Tucson, AZ. for six days. It was time that I practice what I was preaching. I have taken half-day trips for hunting, and even a couple of weekends for fishing. My Emergency Plan was initially created for my back surgery when I would be in rehab for two weeks. It worked perfectly when needed. We made some changes and improved it for my Arizona trip. We never know what can happen. We should never live on “what ifs.” These are top tips to help you during your self-care.

° You will find God is your best help. There is no doubt in my mind that I could never be a caregiver without having God as my partner. There are so many examples of how God is helping me be successful, as both a caregiver and in sharing these topics. In our recent caregivers’ online meeting, I was the only one to share how the church should reach out to help those in caregivers. This is what got me on this topic, and also got me thinking about how can I get other churches to do what God expects us to do; helping and loving those who need help. It was one of those “lightbulb moments.” It felt like God rapped me over the head with a 2×4, to get me moving. I’m excited about the project. I will share more as it develops. God bless you.

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email: