Caregiver Bill of Rights
I was not aware of caregiving rights as I cared for my husband for four years. But looking back, I see how vital these rights are to good mental and physical health. If you’ve never been a caregiver, you may not relate to demands on your life. But for those who are caregivers, it is important to understand your rights. You have the right to:
1. Take care of yourself, as this will help you take care of your relative.
2. Seek help from others, even if your relative only wants help from you.
3. Maintain your own interests and life, including paying attention to career and family needs.
4. Get angry and express your feelings.
5. Reject attempts your relatives make to manipulate you through anger, guilt, or depression.
6. Receive consideration, forgiveness, affection and acceptance for what you do for the loved one.
7. Offer consideration, forgiveness, affection, and acceptance to others.
8. Take pride in what you are accomplishing and applaud the courage it takes to meet the needs of your relative.
9. Maintain a full personal life so that when your relative no longer needs you, you will not be lost.
10. Continually look for new ways to lighten the load, meet the daily challenges that happen, and secure help for your loved one and yourself.
From Your Caregivers Bill of Rights: the ElderCare Letter (Opportunity Management, Inc., 1994), 2.