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Who takes care of the caregiver?

In today’s world, learning to juggle work, family social activities and taking care of ourselves has become a crucial skill for everyone.  This may be especially true for those of us who interact with others who are in chronic pain or are ourselves in chronic pain.  Chronic pain disrupts the delicate balance of daily life and can quickly take control.  Chronic pain creates many clear day-to-day challenges for the person experiencing chronic pain as well as their caregivers and loved ones.

If you are supporting a loved one with chronic pain, you may face certain challenges on a daily basis.  It is important to understand that chronic pain can at times be both a physical and emotional burden.

As a caregiver you may find yourself adjusting to new and different household and childcare tasks.  It is important that caregivers develop support circles and resources to assist with these adjustments, many of which may be long term.

Here are a few tips that may help you navigate:

  • Remember that stress, frustration and anger are common emotions in families that deal with chronic pain.
  • Be patient.  As a caregiver you may have to help your loved one(s) manage many of the negative emotions that are associated with living with chronic pain.  Sometimes just listening to the person can be a great help.
  • Care for your emotional health.  There are many options available for caregivers today.  Whether it is keeping a journal or joining a support group, it is important to find an avenue where you can express your feelings and concerns in a safe environment.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.   Try not to feel guilty when you are sad or frustrated.
  • Realize that you are carrying a lot of responsibility and that you may make mistakes.  Being overly self-critical takes a heavy toll on your emotions.
  • Remind yourself that you are doing a needed and important job.
  • Let yourself grieve if you need to.  Your lives have changed in ways you cannot control.  This is a normal part of the process.
  • Remember that asking for help is not a weakness, it’s a strength.  Getting emotional support will benefit everyone in the long run.

 Lastly, expressing love is free and helpful to all involved.