In a poignant message on Instagram, Emma Heming, the wife of actor Bruce Willis shared her difficult daily life with her husband, affected by a degenerative brain disease. A speech that places the very health of carers at the heart of the debate and the need to be supported oneself.
Last Monday, in a video posted on Instagram, far from the glitter, Emma Heming Willis, wife of Bruce Willis, spoke candidly about her difficult daily life as a helping spouse. The actor has indeed announced his retirement in march 2022 due to a fronto-temporal degeneration, a dementia that knows no treatment.
Take care of yourself to take care of others
“I don’t want people to mistakenly think I’m okay, because I’m not. I am not well”she declares bluntly, evoking thoughts that can be “dark”. “I know it feels like I’m out there, living my best life, but I have to make a conscious effort every day to live the best life I can. I do it for me, for our two children and for Bruce, who would not want me to live otherwise”. An effort that she wishes to share with as many people as possible, “When we don’t take care of ourselves, we’re no good to the people we love and want to show off and care for”, she added in the caption. A welcome reminder for many families and spouses. The number of caregivers in Europe is estimated at more than 9 million.
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What to do as a helper?
Being a caregiver is not uncommon, whether for a child with a disability, a dependent parent, a sick spouse or one affected by a degenerative disease… And this sometimes happens overnight. You are not alone, even if you feel a heavy load on your shoulders. Many structures and a few steps can help you to hold on for the long term. Discover the priorities:
Navigate to the right structures
- The Health Insurance remains a good source of information on the subject and will give you information on the possible benefits concerning you;
- Contact a social worker. It will help you in your application for social benefits;
- If your loved one has a disability and is under 60? It is towards the MDPH (Departmental House of Disabled People) that you need to turn. for your formalities, for your requests for assistance, accommodation, etc.;
- If the person you are helping is over 60, first call the CCAS (Communal Center for Social Action) of your municipality. The CLIC (Local Center for Information and Coordination) in your department can also help you.
Talk to other caregivers
In addition to a daily burden, the caregiver often feels very alone. It is important to be able to share about your daily life and your feelings, to be supported and break this loneliness. There are several ways to do this today:
- Resources and listening by joining online communities of caregivers such as the Facebook group “Aidants et bien +”;
- The “Café Aidants” offered by the Association Française des Aidants also offer places throughout Europe, information times and spaces intended for all caregivers, regardless of the age and pathology of their loved one;
- The CCAS also offer meetings between caregivers, as well as workshops, outings, sophrology consultation, sports activities dedicated to caregivers.
- Finally, since 2022, various free training courses offer you the opportunity to acquire knowledge and know-how to better help your loved one, and integrate these achievements into your professional practices by helping you to put in place support solutions.
Take care of your health too
48% of caregivers report having a chronic illness, 29% feel anxious and stressed, 25% report feeling physically tired… The caregiver’s health is just as important as that of the dependent relative, if not more so. This is why making time to take care of your health is also essential. Making an appointment with a general practitioner is a first step in helping you take care of yourself. Your doctor will listen to you and can redirect you to the right specialists (psychologist, psychiatrist, physiotherapist, etc.).
Activate financial aid… to organize yourself
Being a family caregiver can also entitle you to financial aid for the help provided on a daily basis.
The right to respite allows caregivers to take time for themselves, by funding alternatives to the help they provide to their loved one. It is accessible if you meet certain conditions: if your loved one benefits from the personalized autonomy allowance, if your presence or your help are essential for the life at home of your loved one, and if no one around you can provide this help. in your place. This compensation translates into aid limited to €509.76 per year intended to pay for the care of your loved one for day or night care, temporary accommodation; a relay at home, even during an absence.
When the conditions described above for employing you are not met, thePCH financial assistance (Disability Compensation Benefit) can also compensate you up to 85% of the hourly minimum wage on the basis of 35 hours of work per week.