Caregiver Bill of Rights
As a caregiver for a love one living with life-limiting illness, I have the right to:
Take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability to take better care of my loved-one.
Seek help from others, even though my loved-one may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
Maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything I reasonably can for my loved-one; I have the right to do some things just for me without feeling guilty.
Get angry, be depressed or happy, experience frustration, laugh and cry and express the normal range of human emotions.
Reject any conscious or unconscious attempt by my loved-one to manipulate me through guilt, anger or depression.
Receive consideration, affection, forgiveness and acceptance from my loved-one for what I do for them on a daily basis.
Take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud my own courage in taking on the responsibility for caring for my loved-one.
Protect my individuality and maintain a life for myself that will sustain me once my loved-one has died.
Expect and demand that, as government makes strides in finding resources to support ill persons, similar strides are made toward aiding and supporting caregivers.
Adapted from Caregiving: Helping an Aging Loved One (AARP Books, 1985) by Jo Horne.