Caregiver's Bill of Rights

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Caregiving is hard work. Often, it is also frustrating and thankless. Caregiver burnout is a real issue—and one you need to guard against as carefully as you guard against unwanted complications in your loved one’s health. To help, Leonard J. Buchner, Ph D., has complied this list—a Caregiver’s Bill of Rights.

I have the right...

  • To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will enable me to take better care of my loved one.
  • To seek help from others even though others—including my loved one— may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
  • To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if s/he were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
  • To be angry, depressed, and to express other difficult feelings occasionally.
  • To reject attempts by my loved one or others to manipulate me through guilt.
  • To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do, as long as I offer these qualities in return.
  • To take pride in what I am accomplishing and in the courage it has sometimes taken.