Make sure to avoid developing a symbiotic relationship. In a symbiotic relationship it is as if the caregiver and caregivee become so entangled that the caregiver has no life beyond their caregiving duties; and their loved one feels so dependent upon them that they will not accept help from anyone else. The caregiver plays the game of "Nobody else can care for them like I can." And the person receiving the care plays the game, "Only You". (Only you know how to fix my dinner. Only you know how to give me bath.) Over the long run this can cause resentment from the caregiver or isolation from friends and family. They invest their entire life in the process and burn out. There is documented evidence that caregivers often end up sick or die before the one who is receiving the care. If you will recall the instructions we receive while flying, it is important to put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help others with theirs. If you urn out you will be of no help to them or to yourself. And believe it or not, your loved one needs the stimulation of others. No one is interesting enough to be the sole inspiration for others. Both of you will receive a much needed boost if you get some respite while others care for your loved one. We have heard from many caregivers that just going to lunch with a friend, attending religious services or going to the movies helps to recharge their batteries and maintain quality of life for themselves.

You can even use resources such as adult daycare or a week long respite care setting so you can take a vacation. Remember, as a caregiver you are entitled to have a life!