Caregivers – Take Moments and Have No Regrets
Reprinted from the BACOA publication, “Active Living” – Spring 2019!
We recently sat down with Dr. Denise Casey, the Founder and Director of Barrington Behavioral Health & Wellness, to seek her “been there, done that” guidance on survival skills for people currently serving in caregiver roles.
Dr. Casey stated that one of the first steps a caregiver must tend to for good health is acceptance of a loved one’s condition or diagnosis, “When we try to cling to what it is that we want, and aren’t going with the flow of life, we cause our own suffering.” She often suggests to patients that they employ the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer that suggests that one accept the thing they cannot change and adapt to the situation at hand. She adds “we all ask why me, why now, why this”, and at some point within our soul we need to wrestle through that and say, “it is, now what?” She also pointed out how much courage it takes to cope with caring for a friend or loved one facing a chronic illness day after day, knowing the situation isn’t going to get any better.
One of the key things caretakers require is a village of people when faced with a caregiving situation. “We all struggle with how much of this is mine to deal with, where do I need help and when do I let go of some of this?”
Put On Your Oxygen Mask First
During the interview Dr. Casey used an analogy from the aviation field, when the oxygen mask drops, put yours on first, then help others around you. She shared her own caregiving experience with her mother and grandmother, saying,
“ You get caught up in the whirlwind, at some point I had to put my oxygen mask on first, seek out therapy. There weren’t any support groups available at that time. There is tremendous power in groups, because you realize what you are going through is normal, even though it’s abnormal compared to the mainstream.”
One of the key takeaways from the interview was the importance of goal setting for caregivers. Dr. Casey shared that it goes beyond taking time for a manicure. “These are goals for survival self-care, what do I need to do to keep going? Statistically the rate of caregiver related health risk goes up significantly, and many precede their loved one in death if proper management of their own care is not managed.”
The central advice we garnered was that caregivers should take moments… make memories happen, every birthday, holiday celebration-make it count. When a caregiver looks over their shoulder, they should have no regrets.
You can listen to the entire interview as a ‘podcast’ here at the BACOA Channel on SoundCloud.
CADC, NBCCHT, ACH, CCT
Dr. Denise Casey is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a Certification in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling and a National Board Certification in Clinical Hypnosis. She is also Certified in Cognitive Therapy and has studied addictions and hypnosis at advanced levels.
Her general experience in working with young adults to seniors has equipped her to deal with a wide variety of issues. Dr. Casey is highly skilled, deeply compassionate, and presents a very casual and caring atmosphere.
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