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The Roller Coaster of Caregiving

By Jane Cassily Knapp, RN, LCSWC
(Page 4 of 4)

What you can do to assist in caregiving and to care for yourself.

  • Allow others to help you.

  • Be assertive of your needs.

  • Set healthy boundaries.

  • Use respite services.

  • Participate in support groups and church activities.

  • Exercise.

  • Take time out for yourself and your family; take vacations.

  • Make sure you have planned caregiver relief routinely into your weekly schedule. (i.e. Every Tues. from 2-5 my sister Mary comes in to care for Joe. Or my friend from the church comes in every Wed. 1-3.) Don’t wait until you are exhausted to ask for relief!

  • Maintain your own health. Keep routinely scheduled doctor appointments, counseling appointments; get adequate sleep and nutrition.

  • Use a “baby” monitor so that you have peace of mind while working in the yard or doing anything out of ears’ length of your loved one.

  • Use a monitor if applicable so that you can safely leave your loved one for short periods.

  • Invite friends in.

  • Create a private space for you and your family within your home for socialization away from the dependent person.

  • Allow yourself to vent your frustrations.

  • Don’t beat yourself up with guilt.

  • Compliment yourself for the tremendous caregiving job you are doing.



Jane Cassilly Knapp has a been a healthcare professional for many years. She has always felt privileged to have worked with family caregivers throughout her career, saying, “I never fully appreciated the caregiver role quite so much until I found myself juggling the demands of providing care to an elderly family member in my home, while caring for my growing children, and working in my career full time. I then drew on the wisdom I had gained from the families I had served and realized that all the time I was helping them they were helping me as well.


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