Caring for Myself While Caring for Others

After suffering with Lewy body dementia for more than five years, my father is in the final days of his life.

While this time is about Dad, my mother and family, I’ve been working hard to maintain my healthy eating and exercise. There is lots of food at Mom and Dad’s house, and as the week goes on, I know there will be plenty more. I appreciate people bringing meals over, but I’ve also made sure that I have healthier options available. Fast food and take out are also popular options, but I’ve resisted the temptation. I’ve missed a workout or two, but I’m getting in my 30 minutes of cardio, even if it means a walk through the neighborhood.

Doing well during this emotional time is much more than a “yay me,” it’s about being at my best so I can best deal with this. It’s about feeling every emotion – the deep sadness of saying goodbye to the extreme gratitude for Hospice and supportive friends – instead of stuffing those emotions down with a Five Guys burger and Coke. It’s about perhaps reducing my risk for Lewy body dementia by eating better and exercising. It’s about taking care of myself so I can help take care of Dad, and to a larger extent, Mom.

A wonderful metaphor is to think about the oxygen masks that drop down in an airplane. The flight attendants guide you to put the mask on yourself before you help anyone else. Trying to maintain my healthy eating and exercise is  helping me breathe before I attempt to help others.

I’m not sure what the coming days will bring, but I know they won’t be easy. Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.

2 Comments
  1. Prayers are going out to you and your family Mine is experiencing a similar situation- me, my mom and aunt are taking care of my grandfather who is going through leukemia and extremely low platelet count. It’s all too easy to gorge on cold Chinese food at midnight after they have finally laid down for the night (hello last night) instead of prepping a healthier meal. Stay strong.

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