In this edition, Christy Pappas, family caregiver, discusses just how important self-care is and how it makes a big difference in the lives of caregivers.
The last few years have been a challenge.
My parents moved in with my husband and I in 2014. My dad was falling and had the beginning stages of dementia. In 2015, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.
A few years later, my husband suffered a stroke. I was all alone and could not afford help. I also could not bring myself to consider assisted living. So, for the past 7 years, I was on my own.
But it did not have to be. I never understood when people told me I needed to take care of myself and I, honestly, would get upset when people suggested it. They have no idea how ridiculously impossible it is for me to even think about myself.
But I’m here to let you know that there is a way to take care of you. Because if you do not, you will suffer, and the people you are caring for will suffer with you. I know many caregivers throw up their hands and may think, you walk in my shoes.
Well, I think I can safely say, I have walked in your shoes, I know, and I care.
I am reaching out to caregivers to help make possible, what feels “impossible.” My father passed in Jan. 2021, and my mother lost her last bout of cancer in Nov. 2021. My husband still needs care, but I have learned to take care of me, and I no longer lie in bed crying when everyone is asleep at night. I finally opened my eyes and now I really do see.
Now, for self-care, I do yoga every morning, exercise outdoors, once again, and pray every day. Patience, faith, hope and love are a huge part of my everyday being. And I forgive myself for not being perfect, because I know I do everything I can do- the best I can do- for others, always.
But I know it’s a different journey for each of us getting to this place. And finding the path to take to get there was crucial for me. I’m grateful for my experiences. I’ve grown much stronger; humbler.
There are always people to support you…you just need to ask.
For more information on support groups, please call the Community Foundation at 775-333-5499.
By Christy Pappas