The Parkinson Society British Columbia (website here) has a much needed initiative this year to support workshops for caregivers of persons with Parkinson’s disease,
Time Out for Caregivers.
I was asked to be the keynote speaker at their second workshop in Kelowna on May 26th and was so honored to be able to share the afternoon with these amazing men and women.
I was able to relay to the participants about the importance of their health and how there are buffers that reduce caregiver burden, especially :
- being prepared to be a caregiver
- fully accepting and finding meaning in the caregiver role, and
- establishing a quality relationship with the person you are caring for
- Don’t suffer and try to set boundaries, if there’s a task that’s too much or something you don’t want to do – ask for help! find support! If you need some “me-time” or “me-space” create that. Be assertive! This may involve finding your voice or an advocate.
- Don’t give up on activities you like to do! Modify so you can still keep active and interested in life together… remember the disease doesn’t define you!
- Sustain yourself… caregivers are like lifesaving equipment, you don’t want to burn out. It’s like when you’re on an airplane and you are support to put YOUR oxygen mask on before helping others.
- find someone that can cheer you on and lift your spirits… and don’t forget to celebrate all the small joys. The facilitator for the Kelowna Parkinson’s support group tells everyone to write down THREE things you are grateful for everyday. Doesn’t matter if they are big, small or inbetween! Then, at the end of one year you will have over ONE THOUSAND things to be grateful for… pretty amazing, eh?
I understand this is easier said then done, but getting caregivers to focus on self-care is a great start! I am so grateful for the participants who attended the workshop and to the Parkinson’s Society for starting this initiative, you can contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. A copy of my presentation slides are available by clicking here… please share!
and this is not only applicable to PD caregivers, but everyone…when was the last time you checked in with yourself to see how you were really doing? much love.