The Family Caregiver Bill of Rights

Working Daughter, nowhere it is it written that your life, your dreams, your health, come last. But too many of us often feel this way. No more! So that we are all clear, and can carry on guilt-free (or at least with less guilt), I present to you the Family Caregiver Bill of Rights.

  1. You have the right to a life. Nowhere is it written that family caregivers must shelve their own lives to manage someone else’s. You have a right to maintain your relationships and personal interests. Carve out time for you. If others don’t approve, then don’t approve of their opinion.
  2. You have the right to set boundaries. You have the right to balance your own needs with the needs of the people you care for. Know your personal limits and say no to requests that push those limits.
  3. You have the right to be healthy. No one else’s health should supersede your own. You have the right to sleep, eat, exercise, and do whatever else is needed to protect your physical and mental health. You will be a better caregiver if you care for yourself. WD Bill of Rights
  4. You have the right to earn a living. Even though society relies heavily and unfairly on women to do the unpaid work of care, women deserve the right to earn a living. You have the right to a job, and even a career. It is not only your right, it is smart to have an income source and a plan for your own retirement and future care needs. You never need to apologize for working.
  5. You have the right to ask for and receive help. You have the right to accept that you cannot do everything. You have the right to ask for support from siblings, extended family members, friends, social workers, doctors, etc. And you have the right to say, “Yes, thank you,” when you hear the words, “Can I do anything to help?”
  6. You have the right to be good enough. You have the right to let the laundry pile high, leave the dirty dishes in the sink and the bed unmade. You have the right to wear yoga pants seven days a week. You have the right to serve your children cereal for dinner, again. You can kick perfection to the curb and settle for good enough. Because, actually, you’re pretty amazing.

Download the Bill of Rights here:

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2 thoughts on “The Family Caregiver Bill of Rights”

  1. At times I feel that it’s easier saying something (talk about time management, caring for ourselves, planning out our day, etc., etc., ) than actually doing all of this; especially when your parent (in my case my mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) is agitated and the only thing that will relieve the agitation is to be taken outside for a drive or my preference is to place mom in a wheel chair and I go out for a walk. While it’s good exercise and somewhat of a stress relief the timing is not always great. Against my initial will and gut feeling I am contemplating the notion of placing my mother in an ALF. Yes, I have an immense amount of guilt but in reality I am guilty either way, I find that I am tired, restless, emotionally drained and feel like many times trapped and impotent as to how much help I am really offering her. These feelings in my view are horrible especially coming from a daughter! I currently feel that my life has been put on hold, it has a big/hug dot/period. I know this disease will only get worse.

    1. ALzheimer’s is so challenging Carmen – for the patient and the caregiver. You sum up some if the feeling so well – we are helpless against the disease and that is a horrible feeling. Know this:
      There is no rule book. We can only do our best.
      We are people too. Caregivers also have lives that need tending to.
      And, ALFs, SNFs, etc. aren’t always a negative. There’s something to be said for aging at home. AND, there’s something to be said for 24/7 professional care.

      Thanks for reaching out.

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