The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Do You Have A Back Up Plan, My Caregiver Friend?

September 13, 2022 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 128
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Do You Have A Back Up Plan, My Caregiver Friend?
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Show Notes

It was time for the final consultation for my spouse;s stem cell/ bone marrow transplant.   It was in personin Milwaukee requiring us to travel 2 hours for it.   We had it on our calendar for months.  It was the final step prior to Denis getting the cure he needed.    About 2 days prior I wasn’t feeling the greatest and I thought it was the nerves. But the fatigue got worse and then came the fever.  I was so frustrated since I was a hand sanitizer, mask wearing, clorox wipe kinda girl.  I avoided crowds and declined guests in our home for 6 months.  

I knew what I had to do. Stay isolated in the bedroom and I can’t drive in the car with my spouse.   

Again, I was so angry and frustrated.  I had to be there but there was no way.  So figured out a back up plan . 

What is your back up plan if you can’t do your caregiver responsibilities?  

You can’t say - you don’t have a plan?   There is no guarantee that you can be there all the time.  Only four in 10 caregivers would rate their health as “excellent or very good,” according to AARP’s 2020 Caregiving in the U.S. survey. This is a significant drop from the 48% of caregivers who reported very good health in 2015.

This self-reported poor health is backed by medical statistics — 53% of caregivers have been diagnosed with two or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. That’s 14% higher than the general U.S. adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chronic conditions contribute to lower caregiver life expectancy.

I was brought to my knees again this past week.    I ended up with a terrible stomach flu where I couldn’t be far from the bathroom and my pillow for three days.  

I thought I was being so careful with managing my new stressful challenge of Mom now starting hospice care but my take on it is that I am still trying to recover from chronic stress and my body just couldn’t fight a virus.  

As I laid there trying to recover, I had to give into my thoughts and emotions as well as taking this as a learning lesson.  

  • How could I caregive anyone if I am not taking care of myself first.    I needed the rest and recovery time.  
  • Things will just have to wait
  • What changes could I make to reduce illness?
  • Shift your mindset
  • Do I have a back up plan?  

Way too many times, I hear my clients say, there is no one else, It’s me.   I just want you to take a hard look at yourself and your situation.     There may be a time where you can’t and it may not even be your fault or your choice.  

Find your team.  Ask for help. Reach out to a neighbor, friend or family member.  It could be as simple as, watching for a package that your parent is expected to get today.  To someone offers to pick up groceries at the store.  Take them up on it.  


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