Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sister's Keeper - Family self-care

I just can't get past the idea that Sara has been actively fighting Kate's terminal illness for 13 straight years. Golly, she's a Wonder-Woman.

How do caregivers do it? How do they keep from burning themselves out so totally that they become ill themselves?

Caring for caregivers and respite care is one topic that most doctors and health professionals are very concerned about. They understand that the families are "working" 24/7, caring for their loved ones. The medical staff gets time off, but the family doesn't.

Sara's sister Suzanne shows up through the book on a semi-regular basis, taking Sara out and being there for her. But the overwhelming bulk of the time, it's just the family carrying all the burden.

Is it any wonder that Sara is so focused on keeping Kate alive? It really sounds as if she backs off even for a second to look at the bigger picture, she'll unravel entirely.

Do you think it would have made a difference if the family had had more Respite Care, and time for themselves? Or would the situation still have escalated to the same level?

If you keep your nose to the grindstone rough
And hold it down there long enough,
You'll forget there ever were such things
As brooks that babble and birds that sing.
These three will all your world compose.
Just you and the stone and your, darned old nose.
(variously attributed to Dave Newell and Nadine
National Family Caregivers' Association
NFCA Tips and Tools - includes all sorts of helpful resources, including "10 Tips for Family Caregivers" in English and Spanish

Respite Care Fact Sheet from

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