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You can survive caregiving

As we age, there is one certainty. Someone we love will need long-term care. Perhaps a parent, perhaps a spouse. More than likely, the care for that person will fall on familial shoulders first.

Caregiving is both caring and a lot of giving. So much, that it is easy to become absorbed into the other person's world of medical, emotional and physical needs, only to neglect your own. Dentist appointments get postponed. Haircuts are put off. Social activities come to a screeching halt.

Obviously, you can't disregard your sense of commitment to this loved one who so desperately needs your attention. But, there are a few things you can do to release yourself from the grip that zaps your strength. Take advantage of times when therapists or home health personnel visit. Physically remove yourself from the situation, even if it is just to read a chapter or two of a novel in a steaming bubble bath. Walk through one of Dallas's 374 neighborhood parks. Stroll the Farmers Market. Fresh air, a change of scenery and some quiet time can do wonders to rejuvenate the soul.

Remember when you asked a friend to babysit the kids so you could have an evening out? You needed a break then. You need it even more now. A night out on the town doesn't have to be expensive. In the summer, catch a movie during the Get Reel Days at Victory Park or explore Greenville Ave. Catch a free concert along the streets of West End in the Historic District.

Sure, you'll worry and call in often, just as you did when you had kids at home. That's okay, you know. Time for yourself didn't mean you were negligent then. It won't now either.




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