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Ten New Year's Resolutions
for Family Caregivers

Our work with the Friends of St. John the Caregiver has shown us, time and time again, that family caregivers are constantly making sacrifices because to caregive is to love . . . and to love is to make sacrifices for one's loved one.

That's why we're suggesting 10 New Year's resolutions that will help you be a better caregiver without making your life harder.

1. Don't beat yourself up because you aren't "perfect" at caregiving. (None of us is perfect at anything!)

2. Remember that, even if you can't take a big break, little breaks help, too. Even five or 10 minutes in the middle of a long day or seemingly endless night.

3. Tell your spouse and children you're not mad at them. It's just that "I've used up all my 'nice.'" Tell them what you want: alone time, a hug, chocolate . . . .

4. Don't hesitate to ask for -- or even demand -- help.

5. Forgive yourself for the times you've lost your temper. (That can be harder than asking another for forgiveness! It's good to do that, too.)

6. Enjoy, relish!, the joyful moments with your care-receiver.

7. Admit that what you're doing is hard. It is.

8. Remember that your loved one's condition may become worse, that he or she may die, but it's not your fault.

9. Pray. (Yelling at . . . . Speaking loudly at God can be a prayer that comes straight from the heart.)

10. Know that you're not alone, even though at times you feel lonely. God has asked you to do this and you've accepted his invitation. He's with you always. Right here. Right now.