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A-B-C's for Caregivers

A - ACKNOWLEDGE and ADMIT things are different. ASK for help.

B - BALANCE is essential to maintain strength and energy long-term.

C - COMMUNICATE your needs. COPE through self-care.

D - Don't get DETAINED in DENIAL or DEPRESSION. Don't DELAY getting help.

E - EDUCATE yourself about available resources.

F - FOLLOW coping strategies. Be FEARLESS about the future.

G - GRIEVE appropriately for losses. GROW in new directions.

H - HOPE HUMOR HONESTY

I - INFORM your friends, extended family, and employer about your needs. INFORMATION is power.

J - JOIN support groups.

K - KNOW your limitations KEEP your life simple.

L - LISTEN to your body for its needs.

M - MOVE beyond MEDICAL MODELS, if needed.

N - NEVER give up. Don't NEGLECT self-care.

O - OPEN yourself to new technologies to help your loved one. OBSERVE good health practices.

P - PRACTICE being PRO-ACTIVE to be heard by professionals.

Q - QUESTION things you don't understand.

R - RESTORE yourself through REST and RECREATION.

S - STAND FIRM on what you believe is best for your loved one. Reduce STRESS by following a SCHEDULE.

T - TAKE TIME for yourself.

U - USE every resource available.

V - VOCABULARY may be confusing. Learn medical terms as needed.

W - WILLINGLY accept assistance.

X - XEROX method - copy strategies and techniques that work for others.

Y - YELL for help when you need it. YOU are important too.

Z - ZEALOUSLY guard your private time.

Written by Debbie Leonhardt, 2004. Debbie Leonhardt is President/CEO of Alexandria Counseling and Consulting Services, Inc. in Taylorsville, North Carolina. In 1992, she sustained a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident and is currently serving her thrid term on the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina Board of Directors.
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