According to Joanne Koenig Coste in her book Learning to Speak Alzheimer's
, 30% of caregivers will die before the patients they are caring for do. It's a startling statistic that brings into
sharp focus the high-stress demands of caring for a loved one.
If you're in the caregiver role, you'll hear over
and over how important it is to take care of yourself. Coste herself gives several pages to this topic...but it's hard
to imagine how one can fit those suggestions into the real-life situation.
It's not that you don't want to. But
the realities of giving care to a loved one with a chronic and progessive condition such as dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's,
stroke or other condition often keep us in a state of extreme stress.
Even when we can get a moment to ourselves,
it's often spent worrying or grieving over our situation. Knowing how harmful these emotions are to our health simply
adds to the stress, creating a highly toxic cycle.
There are many ways to break the stress cycle and promoto relaxation.
My favorite is using meridian tapping tachniques, like EFT. Why?
It's fast. If you can't get 20,
10, or even five minutes to yourself, you can still use EFT and Meridian tapping. It only takes 30-60 seconds to tap
a round, and you can find yourself relaxing and thinking more clearly often from one round.
You can do it for yourself, and of course the ripple effect of more serenity and focus for you will benefit your loved one.
But even better, you can also do it for, with or on your loved one. It might even become a favorite shared activity.
It's personal. You can easily learn, use and customize EFT or Meridian tapping to your own specific caregiving
routine. If you're really overwhelmed, you don't even have to use words. Just tap the points.
example of how one person used EFT to dissolve her feelings of guilt about having to put her husband in a facility, read Carna Zacharias-Miller's
beautiful case history.
And you can find a quick primer or reminder on how to do the technique here