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Happy November…A Celebration of YOU!

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Dr. James D. Huysman

Caregiving / / November 07, 2014

As you all hopefully know by now, November is National Family Caregivers’ Month.  It’s an entire month devoted to the celebration of those who provide care for family members every day.  If you are a caregiver, it’s a month devoted to celebrating YOU!   

Are you aware of your personal impact as a family caregiver? 

  • You belong to a sacred society 90 million strong. 
  • You contribute to providing $577 billion dollars worth of vital medical services a year, making you the backbone of long-term care in the U.S.
  • Without you and the care you provide, your loved one(s) would probably have a much depreciated quality of life.
  • You, by virtue of being a family caregiver, are showing others that age and illness are part of life and as such require compassion, kindness and respect.
  • If you choose to, you can live a full and satisfying life, making delicious lemonade out of life’s lemons!
  • And with an attitude of “taking your oxygen first” this could also be a special time of awareness, transformation and self-love in your life as well.

H.A.L.T! This is an adage in 12-Step recovery that warns not to get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  You might want to remember it.  It’s an effective tool to evaluate your need for self care.  Being aware of what you need or where you may be out of balance is just half of the equation of self care; the other half is taking the time necessary to actually take care of yourself.  If you remember anything this month also remember the acronym for T.R.U.S.T which is To Reach Ultimate Success Together.

Isolation is gasoline on a fire for caregivers. Become aware and transform with a likeminded support group!  Making this “small” but vital adjustment in your life can be the best tool for keeping things positive and moving forward when difficult situations arise in caring for your loved one.  Feeling and expressing your feelings and challenges with a “family of choice” is great medicine.  Finding a solution with others who have walked the path is better than time spent focusing on the problem by yourself.

YOU CAN DO IT!   You don’t have to be the supporting cast here.  You can be the star of this show. Take the words “can’t”, “if” and “but” out of your vocabulary.   In improvisation, the improvisers make what is called the “Yes, AND…” adjustment to move a scene’s action forward.  They do not negate another improviser’s suggestion.  Instead they incorporate it into the exercise. 

I’d like to send a special shout out to those of you who are professionals working in care occupations, as well as being family caregivers.  You are my heroes.  You are indeed the backbone of our American medical culture.  Without you we would be lost.

In honor of this month, devoted to you, please do one thing for yourself every day.  You deserve it and you are worth it!

Categories: Caregiving
About The Author
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James D “Dr. Jamie” Huysman, PsyD, LCSW is well-known for his work fiercely advocating on behalf of family and professional caregivers. From running a national caregiver support foundation, contributing to the AARP Foundation/NASW’s collective “New Guidelines for Caregivers of Older Adults” and co-authoring “Take Your Oxygen First”, to his expert videos on Caregiver Connections for UHC TV, he is a champion of behavioral health and a patient-centered medical culture that is prepared to meet the needs of those they serve.  A popular speaker, he works as VP of Provider Relations and Government Affairs for WellMed Medical Management.

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