You Take Care of Others, Now Take Care of Yourself

This year’s theme is “The Spirit of America,” and it recognizes the bond between staff, volunteers, and residents. Many of the people who work in nursing homes are the type of individuals who are known by friends and family to put the needs of others before themselves.

[gdlr_quote align=”right” ]When it’s National Nursing Home Week, it reminds me of my days as a nursing home medical director. For nearly 20 years, I spent my days surrounded by some of the most caring and selfless individuals. – David Bernstein, MD[/gdlr_quote]

While it may be a trait that people value or take pride in, as we age, the need to address our own health care concerns is even greater. Skipping annual exams, putting off doctors’ appointments, and downplaying symptoms can be detrimental to our health. Many health care professionals are guilty of not living up to the standards that we encourage our patients and their families to follow. We must often take a moment and remind ourselves that in order to care for others, we must also care for ourselves. If we do not, then we have already defeated our mission.

Let’s pay special attention to the following:

  1. Be a Positive Role Model. See your doctor regularly. Whether it be for your annual exam, recurring condition or acute onset disease or injury. If your patients, residents or their families see that you are suffering or not taking care of yourself, how can they be expected to follow your advice in caring for themselves?
  2. Be Proactive, Not Reactive. If you have a friend or family member working in the health care field, don’t assume that they are practicing what they preach. If you know they are under the care of a physician or should be, reach out to them. Perhaps you offer to drive them to their appointment, cover a shift if they need time off from work, or simply provide a shoulder to lean on if you think they need to talk.

Celebrating National Nursing Home Week is not just another reason to go out and buy a card for someone you know. It’s a reminder that the men and women who work in our nation’s health care facilities need to not just take care of others, but also take care of themselves.

To a long and healthy life!

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