WSW: Caregivers Also Need To Care For Themselves

Sep 22, 2016

Credit Matt Rourke, AP / AP

Being a caregiver for someone who's terminally ill or has a long-term illness can be exhausting. Joyce Rupp says both family caregivers and those who do the work professionally need to find a balance and care for themselves too. Rupp will be the main speaker at this year's 15th annual Community of Caregivers at the Transformations Spirituality Center in Kalamazoo. 

Rupp says caregivers often feel guilty about taking time for themselves. And that gets in the way of the self-care needed so the can help their family member of patient. She says they often try to go it alone, or don't know when to ask for help.

Feelings of being overwhelmed by the task without a break can lead some caregivers to lash out in anger and frustration. Rupp says realizing that caregivers need time for themselves is the first step toward preventing that. And Rupp says that means overcoming feelings of guilt when they are away from the person they're helping. They can also feel isolated when the hard work of caring for another disrupts relationships with other family members and friends.

Rupp, who is a member of the Roman Catholic order Servants of Mary, says she approaches the issue from a religious and Christian perspective. But she says all major religions send a strong message of self-denial in service of others. However, Rupp says even Jesus took time to heal himself while he cared for others.

Rupp will speak at two events during the 15th annual Community of Caregivers Gathering in Kalamazoo. On Thursday, September 22, she'll talk about "Caring From the Heart" for personal caregivers at 7 p.m. And on Saturday, September 23, she'll address professional caregivers about "The Gift of Self-Compassion" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both events are at the Transformations Spirituality Center, 3427 Gull Road.