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Caregiver Contest Finalist Natalie: Give Yourself Grace

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
10/05/18  2:43 PM PST
give yourself grace

Natalie F. is from Texas, and was one of forty finalists chosen out of the over 1,000 entries to our “What Advice Would You Give to a Fellow Caregiver?” Contest. You can find our grand prize and runner up winners here.

What advice would you give a fellow caregiver?

I have been a caregiver for members of my own family, as well as a home health nurse for the last five years. I see firsthand the toll that caregiving can take. I feel like, for me, the hardest thing is guilt. I feel guilty when I get tired, when I get irritable, when the laundry piles up, when we have sandwiches for dinner instead of a homecooked meal. As the mother of six, with three special needs kids, some days, all I can hope for is a house that hasn’t burned down, and all the kids getting to bed smelling halfway clean.

If I could pass along any encouragement to a new caregiver, it is simply, GRACE. Give yourself GRACE. If the dishes don’t all get done, it’s OKAY. If you are so tired that you feel like crying, CRY! If your husband eats cereal for dinner once a week, he won’t die. It is okay for you to take some time for yourself. It is okay for you to say, “No, I won’t be able to bake 43 dozen muffins for the PTA bake sale … I have other commitments.” EVEN if your “other commitment” is to actually SIT DOWN and finish that “Grey’s Anatomy” episode you keep missing.

Everyone talks about “burnout” like it’s a bad word. Like it won’t happen to THEM. It CAN’T happen to ME because I LOVE my children/mother/father, etc. Even people who have the BEST intentions need GRACE, need a break. Allow yourself to be human. To have needs. You don’t have to be everything to everybody all the time … and that is just okay. You’re still amazing … and the laundry will still be there tomorrow!

Click here to head to the contest home page and read more advice.


Finalists were selected by the Marketing Team at Shield HealthCare. Those finalists were submitted to a panel of independent judges who picked three grand prize winners and five runners up. The judges included: Sandra Mitchell, Award-winning KCAL 9 news anchor and breast cancer survivor, and the Landers family: actor and comedian David Landers (“Laverne & Shirley”) who is living with MS, his wife Kathy and his daughter Natalie (“The Middle”). Click here to learn more.