General / Caregiver Stress /
Here are some tips that I have found
to be helpful in getting your life in balance again.
When well-meaning people offer to help, accept
their help. Be specific in things you could use help with. Now
is not the time to show the world how strong you are. You will
only burn out quicker without help.
Watch out for signs of depression. Get
professional help if you need to.
Educate yourself about your loved oneís
condition. Information is empowering!
Trust your gut feelings. Iím a firm believer in
our innate instincts. If something sounds out of whack to you,
keep asking questions until you are satisfied that the best care is
Find other caregivers to connect with. There
are many caregiver websites and support groups that can be found.
If there are none in your area, start your own. Believe me, you
need somebody to talk to that understands what you are going
Be kind to yourself. Even if you only take a
ten-minute walk around the block to alleviate some stress, DO IT. A
caregiver with a lower stress level makes a much better caregiver.
Getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating balanced meals reduces
If you are caring for a parent and have
siblings, be vocal about what they can do to help. Some people are
not comfortable with the day-to-day care but they might be willing
to grocery shop for you, pick up meds, or do a doctorís run or two.
Donít be a martyr. Your emotional health cannot take it. Face it
and get on with it.
Take charge of your life and continue to do
things that you find relaxing or pleasurable. If a loved oneís
disability always takes center stage instead of your needs, you will
become a resentful caregiver. Not good for anyone.
Write down things to keep your head uncluttered.
Having ongoing lists of medications your loved one is taking
will not only alleviate the stress of trying to remember what and
when, but it is also a valuable tool when visiting the doctor. Itís
all written out and accessible. Doctors are often rushed and cannot wait around while you try to remember which meds are
causing what side effects, etc. Keep it simple and easy on
yourself in ways that you can.
Keep your sense of humor. Itís the most important tool you have
and itís free. Humor can be found in the most surprising places,
even hospitals and nursing homes. Laughter is good for the soul.
Know your limitations! Donít let guilt get in
the way of making the best decision for your family member and
yourself. Not everyone can be a caregiver no matter how
good their intentions might be. If you cannot be a caregiver due
to an emotional, physical, financial or locational burden, you do
have choices. You cannot help another if you yourself need help.
The medical needs might warrant the need for assisted living or
long term care. If you must find alternative living arrangements,
make sure they are ones you can live with and serve the best
interest of your loved one! Stay involved and vigilant that the
care remains good.
Caregiving is a huge responsibility. Keeping
the caregiver healthyó physically, mentally, and emotionally ó is
vital. Try to find the right balance in your life that allows you
to care for your loved one while caring for yourself.
Other helpful websites for caregivers:
Family Caregiver Alliance:
National Family Caregivers Association:
National Alliance for Caregiving:
Todayís Caregiver: www.caregiver.com