610,000 Americans die of heart disease every single year. That’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
Patients are not the only ones who suffer as a result of heart disease. Often their caregivers are also impacted. Unpaid caregivers number over 67 million in the U.S. alone! It is estimated 30% actually die before their loved one they are care-taking.
According to Dave Nassaney, author of "It’s My Life Too!" there are 3 mistakes to avoid if you want to prevent your loved one’s heart disease or illness from killing you.
3 Mistakes Caregivers Must Avoid:
1. Not putting your needs first
Just like the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before you help anyone else in the case of an emergency, you must take care of your needs before you care for others. While their needs are important, if you don't make yourself a priority for you, you won't be able to take care of someone else.
2. Not asking for help
Nassaney says, "Ask for help!" Sometimes caring for others is a full time job and you don't have to bear it alone. When you need help or support you should ask for it. Rely on your family members, friends or even support groups. Call a friend and say, “I’m going through a hard time. Do you have a few minutes just to listen?” Have a family meeting and say, “Our lives have been a lot different since grandma got sick. I’m spending more time with her. Let’s figure out together how we’ll get everything done.”
3. Allowing guilt to influence your decisions
Feelings of guilt or inadequacy often influence the decisions caregivers make for their loved ones. If you are susceptible to feelings of guilt be sure to recognize it. You may feel bad because you resent your loved one for getting sick. Remember it is not your fault and it is not their fault either. Unrecognized guilt eats at your soul. Name it; look at the monster under the bed.
Identify other feelings, too. Often, there are feelings under the feeling of guilt. Name those, as well. For example, say to yourself: “I hate to admit this to myself, but I’m resentful that Dad’s illness changed all of our lives.” Once you put it into words, you will have a new perspective. You will also be reminding yourself of how fortunate you are to have what it takes to take care of loved one.
Whenever you are caring for someone else, to make sure you do the best for them you must care for yourself first.