If you have ever flown on a plane you are familiar with the safety speech that is presented before take-off on every flight. Emergency procedures are explained to all passengers including what to do if the cabin loses air pressure. At that time those yellow oxygen face masks are supposed to pop out and you are shown how to put it on and adjust the straps. (whew – so glad I’ve never had to do that!) If you have a child or someone who needs assistance in your care, you must put your OWN MASK ON FIRST before assisting that other person. Why? Well, what if you tried to help them and after getting an oxygen mask on them, you find yourself so starved of oxygen that you pass out. Now who is going to help YOU?
A person cannot be much help to another person if they forget to tend to their own personal needs!
Now I know there are a ton of caregivers out there. Statistically according to the CDC, more than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability (AARP, 2008) and an estimated 21% of households in the United States are impacted by caregiving responsibilities (NAC,2004).
That’s a whole lot of caregiving!
I know who you are – lots of you moms out there taking care of special needs children and plenty of you taking care of aging parents.
You cannot be a CAREGIVER and GIVE CARE if you have tired yourself out, exhausted your resources, and given ALL you’ve got because you will be EMPTY and you will have NO CARE left to GIVE.
My dear caregiver: My heart goes out to you. If you’ve been keeping up with my latest blogs, you now know that you are the third group that I write for. We have to encourage and support each other. Caregiving can be exhausting – but who takes care of the caregiver? After Jesus’s disciples had cared for the crowds of people, they returned and were told by Jesus to retreat to a quiet place to rest:
Mark 6:30-31 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
So now you have the triad of WHO the YOU are that I have a heart for and desire to reach. I am a CAREGIVER because of how my life has been impacted by my daughter, Amanda, who was born with SPINA BIFIDA and the only reason I survived was because of my FAITH in God.
Women of FAITH, CAREGIVERS, and my SPINA BIFIDA friends. I’m talking to YOU!