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Health Information Twelve Steps for Caregivers

Twelve Steps for Caregivers
By Carol J. Farran, DNSc, RN, and Eleanore Keane-Hagerty, MA

Although I cannot control the disease process, I need to remember I can control many aspects of how it affects me and my relative. I need to:

  • Take care of myself so that I can continue doing the things that are most important.
  • Simplify my lifestyle so that my time and energy are available for things that are really important at this time.
  • Cultivate the gift of allowing others to help me, because caring for my relative is too big a job to be done by one person.
  • Take one day at a time rather than worry about what may or may not happen in the future.
  • Structure my day, because a consistent schedule makes life easier for me and my relative.
  • Have a sense of humor, because laughter helps to put things in a more positive perspective.
  • Remember that my relative is not being "difficult" on purpose, rather that his/her behavior and emotions are distorted by the illness.
  • Focus on and enjoy what my relative can still do rather than constantly lament over what is gone.
  • Increasingly depend upon other relationships for love and support.
  • Frequently remind myself that I am doing the best that I can at this very moment.
  • Draw upon the Higher Power, which I believe is available to me.
Reprinted from The American Journal of Alzheimer''s Care and Related Disorders & Research, November/December, 1989, 4(6), 38-41.
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