Advice for Caregivers
When we think of caregivers, we usually think of wonderfully compassionate people who provide full-time, live-in care. Some people living with lupus may need such care, but those with milder symptoms may only require part-time or occasional help. Regardless of the type or amount of care you provide, here are a few helpful strategies for maintaining a healthy balance in your life while you provide comfort and support to your loved one with lupus.
Make Time for Yourself
When you spend a good portion of the day caring for another person, it’s sometimes hard to find time for yourself. But it’s important to do so, for your own well-being, and for your ability to fully be there for your friend or family member.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of time…just time that’s completely your own. So whether you have five minutes or five hours, do something that is completely, and totally, for you. Here are a few suggestions:
|Read a book||Go to the gym|
|Take a bath||Have lunch or coffee with a friend|
|Go for a walk or run||Write in your journal|
|Go shopping||Get a massage|
|Play with the dog||Take a bike ride|
|Take a nap||Play a musical instrument|
Take Time for Other Family Members
If one of your immediate family members has lupus, you may find that you don’t get to spend as much time as you’d like with your spouse, children, or other family members. Here are a few tips for restoring balance on the home front.
- Plan one-on-one time. Plan some alone time with each family member at some point during the week. Even if it’s just 15 minutes here or there, it will be time well spent for both of you.
- Do errands together. A trip to the grocery store may not be your child’s idea of fun, but if it means getting some one-on-one time with you and perhaps the chance to pick out a treat or two, it could serve a dual purpose. Depending on your child’s age, you might even get a little help unloading the cart.
- Schedule date night. If you care for a family member other than your spouse, plan an outing with your spouse or significant other as often as you can. It will help you stay connected and give you a needed respite from your cares at home.
- Engage other family members in care. The responsibilities of caring for your family member with lupus need not rest on your shoulders alone. By engaging other family members to help with tasks that are appropriate for them, you’re instilling a sense of family unity and mutual caring, and getting help at the same time.
- Plan family fun activities. It doesn’t have to be a daylong outing. It can be going downtown for ice cream, taking a stroll in the park or cooking a meal together. Bonding as a family unit can help ease any frustration other family members may be feeling, and create wonderful family memories in the process.