Caregivers need to schedule regular care for the caregiver. Providing care for a loved one with a long-term illness or disability can be both fulfilling and challenging. Over time, the daily stresses can wear heavily on the caregiver. That’s why it’s so important for caregivers to take care of themselves.
Staying hopeful, energetic and optimistic is vital to providing the best care possible. However, maintaining a positive outlook and a high level of energy will be difficult if the caregiver doesn’t take care of his/her own needs. Finding the time to care for the caregiver with proper nutrition, exercise and sleep will help relieve stress and prevent burnout.
It’s also important to ask for help when needed. Many of the things a caregiver needs to stay rested, healthy and optimistic can’t happen without the support of family and friends, or paid caregivers.
Signs you may need to do more care for the caregiver include:
• Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or angry
• Making mistakes while giving care
• Feeling alone, isolated or deserted
• Not getting enough sleep
• Gaining or losing weight without trying
• Frequently feeling worn out
• Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Becoming easily irritated
• Being constantly worried or sad
• Having frequent headaches or body aches
Physical ways to care for the caregiver may include:
• Getting regular exercise
• Eating a balanced diet
• Pampering yourself (hot bath, massage)
• Getting regular sleep
• Staying on top of your own health and physical check-ups.
Mental/emotional ways to care for the caregiver may include:
• Talking with supportive friends
• Getting help from family members
• Celebrating small victories
• Enjoying a good laugh
• Joining a caregiver support group
• Bringing in a respite worker
• Setting up routines & staying organized
• Getting regular breaks
There are resources both on-line and in the community to help caregivers stay connected with others and take care of themselves. Today’s Caregiver is an on-line community of caregivers ready to assist with helpful articles, answering questions and offering hope.
Your local Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) can be a great resource for locating support groups and providing information on options for assistance with caregiving. The ADRC can also assist you with finding solutions for long-term care issues such as living arrangements, health needs, home maintenance, and nutrition.
To continue providing the best care possible, take advantage of opportunities to provide care for the caregiver – that’s you!