As parents of a child with epilepsy it is as important to take care of your physical and emotional wellbeing as it is to care for your child.
Investing in your health will also place you in good stead to provide quality care for your child with epilepsy. It will provide good role modelling for your other children and have a flow-on effect on the whole family. Children are very perceptive and sensitive to stresses within a family, and they learn how to cope from watching their parents.
Parents need to have enough energy and mental clarity to provide care and to make informed choices for their child. Yet, making time to take care of oneself is often a low priority for parents.
Self care is essential for the long term healthy functioning of the family and should be incorporated into the family’s routine.
Some suggestions for self care for parents are:
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough sleep and rest.
- Use respite options.
- Connect with other parents in a similar situation to reduce isolation.
- Make time to spend with friends.
- Make time to spend with your partner and nurture your relationship.
- Ask for help when needed.
- Inform yourself of potential supports and utilise them - e.g. disability services, home supports, family support, counselling, financial assistance, etc.
- Utilise your child’s health team - e.g. Doctor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, etc.
- Seek professional assistance when needed - your GP or child’s health care team can assist to connect you to the appropriate service.