Take care of yourself 319
A mother in Nigeria tells
how she cares for her disabled daughter
My daughter is a polio survivor. When she was a young girl, we
could not afford to buy a wheelchair or to employ anyone to help
us. So I used to carry her on my back to school every day, even up
to the 12th grade. It was hard for me and I would get very tired as
she got bigger and heavier. When she got to university she also got
a wheelchair, and now she even has her own car. So I can rest more
compared to what it was like a few years ago.
But now she needs emotional help because she becomes erratic
in her behavior sometimes. I understand that this has to do with
what she is going through, so I try to help her. But if I could afford
to employ someone to help her become more emotionally stable,
then I would be able to look after myself better and not be so
exhausted all the time.
Take care of yourself
Some caregivers devote themselves completely to fulfilling the needs of the people
they care for. They get so good at helping other people that they forget to take
care of their own needs. Sometimes they sacrifice their own well-being and their
enjoyment of life. After a while, helpers who never think about themselves may
begin to get frustrated and angry at the people they help. This can hurt both the
helper and the person she assists.
If you do not take care of yourself, you stop having energy to help others. To take
good care of someone, you must get enough sleep and rest, look after your own
physical needs, and continue to have fun and other relationships.
Practice traditions that calm the body and mind and build inner strength such as yoga,
prayer, meditation, T’ai Chi, and others. Practicing these traditions regularly can help you
cope with the stress of caring for someone.
Take care of your own health
• Eat good food so your body stays strong.
• Get enough sleep so you will have enough
energy during the day.
• Get more exercise than just your work as a
• Massage can help you relax your body. It can
also help relieve stress and upset.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007