Apr 14, 2013

The Caregiver’s Bill of Rights

If Alzheimer’s caregivers exercised their rights, their stress could be greatly lessened, and their physical and mental health would likely be improved.

By Marie Marley
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Caregiver Rights
Whether they realize it or not caregivers do have rights – lots of them.

This list has been circulating on the internet for a long time and is attributed to various persons.

This version was taken from www.caregivers.utah.gov, where it is attributed to Jo Horne.

Whether you have seen it previously or not, it is always worth repeating and sharing.

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I have the right:
  • To take care of myself. Caregiving is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of my loved one.
  • To seek help from others even though my loved ones may object. Only I can recognize the limits of my endurance and strength.
  • To maintain facets of my life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.
  • To get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
  • To reject any attempts by my loved one (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt, and/or depression.
  • To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do, from my loved ones, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
  • To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my loved one.
  • To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my loved one no longer needs my full-time help.
  • To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically- and mentally-impaired persons in our country, similar strides will be made towards aiding and supporting caregivers.

If Alzheimer’s caregivers exercised their rights, their stress - although never disappearing - could be lessened, and their physical and mental health problems resulting from caregiving could decrease in frequency and intensity.

How many of these rights are you exercising?

Which ones would you like to start exercising?

Can any of you think of other rights that should be added to this list?

Any and all comments are appreciated.

Come Back Early Today:
A Story of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy

Marie Marley, PhD, is the award award winning author of, Come Back Early Today: A Story of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy. You can visit Marie’s website at ComeBackEarlyToday.
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