(The following article appeared originally on Kim Wells’s blog at https://www.thewellslawgroup.com/blog/2020/02/how-to-take-care-of-yourself-as-a-caregiver-for-a-loved-one/)
Nothing can prepare you for the aftermath of an accident that leaves a loved one with a spinal cord injury. Whether the injury left your spouse, parent or child with total or partial paralysis, you may find yourself in the role of a primary caregiver.
Your commitment to your loved one’s well-being is the driving force behind your willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure that he or she has the highest possible quality of life. This will certainly mean making sacrifices, but it does not necessarily mean handling it all on your own.
Adjusting to the change
When you consider what caring for your loved one entails, you probably think about being the hands and feet, arms and legs of your loved one. While this is true and may consume most of your time, you have other roles to play, one of which may be as encourager and cheerleader.
Your loved one’s emotional recovery is ongoing, and he or she will rely on your steady presence. This may not always be easy for the following reasons:
- Some days you may feel exhausted and sore from the exertion of the previous day.
- Your loved one may not always express appreciation for your efforts and sacrifice.
- There will be days when your loved one lashes out at you because of his or her own frustration.
- You both may feel helpless and discouraged at times.
- It is not unusual for those caring for someone with paraplegia or quadriplegia to feel trapped or overwhelmed by caregiving obligations.
- You may become so intent on your loved one’s needs that you forget to take care of your own needs, such as eating when you’re hungry or sleeping when you’re tired.
If you have other family members to care for, you may feel pulled in a thousand directions. Trying to be everything for everyone can wear you down quickly. Do not feel as if asking for help is a type of failure. The assistance of one or several professional caregivers may allow you to remain positive and encouraging to your loved one. This assistance may also provide you with time to take care of your own needs.
Unfortunately, paying for quality in-home care for someone with a spinal cord injury can be quite expensive. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney can help you. Gain information and support for pursuing the compensation your loved one needs and deserves.