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Spinal cord injuries can affect caregivers

A person who faces a spinal cord injury is likely going to need help with some self care duties. In many cases, a loved one begins to act as caregiver for the injured person. That means that the spinal cord injury is now affecting the injured person, as well as the caregiver.

Many caregivers tend to focus so much on their duties for taking care of their loved one that they forget to take care of themselves. It is easy to understand how that happens. The caregiver has to deal with financial planning, medical issues, transportation, daily care needs, and other points for the person with the injury. They will also have to act as an advocate for their loved one.

Think about this -- nearly 75 percent of caregivers don't get the medical care they should. More than have skip appointments with the doctor. Even more don't eat the way they should. Up to 70 percent of caregivers suffer from depression and around 41 percent have back problems. And yet, they are so focused on their duties that they forget that they need to be in good shape so they can continue caring for their loved one.

There isn't really an easy answer about how you should care for your own needs and your family member's needs. You have to figure that out based on your circumstances. One area that you might be able to make an impact is the finances. You might decide to seek compensation in Oklahoma so that the financial concerns aren't always at the top of the priority list, which would let you focus on other aspects of your life and your duties.

Source: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, "Your role as a caregiver," accessed Sep. 20, 2016

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