BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Caregiving is often referred to as a beautiful journey of ups and downs. For Alison Lynch, it’s a journey that has taught her a lot about life and the importance of self-compassion.
“I think that a lot of care givers put a lot of guilt on themselves for not being enough, not doing enough. They don't take care of themselves They don't take the time to look at the leaves outside or take a walk.” Said Lynch
She served as a caregiver for her father, aunt and now her mother. After trying to do it all, she developed a new outlook on life.
“So I realized I had to slow down. It's really hard for me to slow down unless I get a cold or I'm sick, I just keep running and running and I see that it's take a toll on my health. I gained 50 pounds back that I had worked so hard back in 2010 to lose so I've had to learn a lot of self-compassion that I can’t do it all. I'm not going to live so long if I do it all. And I have so much more to live for.” Said Lynch.
Now serving as the only caregiver for her mom who has dementia, she attends a monthly support group at Jewish Community services.
“There are lot of similarities which is what I think I get from the support group. Realizing that we all have the same feelings whether I'm a child or a spouse of someone with dementia, we are all in the same boat.” Said Lynch
Alison says that her friends, meditation and yoga have been instrumental in helping her keep her peace. She offers this bit of advice for other caregivers: "They say that caregivers are at risk of dying before the people that they are caring for and it's not just a myth. It's true... Don't wait years to have that knee replacement that you need or the cataract surgery that you need. Find resources, find somebody to help so that you can be taken care of yourself. "
To find out more about support groups offered through Jewish Community services click here.