Chapter 18: Don't Forget Yourself

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We’re going to shift focus in this chapter in order to make you, the caregiver, the center of attention. What family support, what professional help, what daily routines and disciplines does the caregiver need to get through this period that is very demanding and stressful on the caregiver, no matter how rewarding it might be?

Taking care of your loved one can have an enormous impact on your health and well-being.

As family caregivers, we have serious handicaps. Many have full-time careers. Also, we have spouses and children who understandably expect our attention as well, and competition for the attention we are paying a needy senior can cause considerable stress.

If you feel persistent anxiety or stress in your role as caregiver, be assured that you are not alone.

In a survey of sixteen thousand caregivers, Home Instead Senior Care discovered that many share your views. As stresses build one upon another, you lose your ability to help your loved one. What can you do to reduce the stress on yourself?

Below are some tips for avoiding and managing caregiver stress from the experts on the Home Instead Senior Care Advisory Board:

  • Work out
  • Meditate
  • Ask for help
  • Take a break
  • Eat well
  • Take care of yourself
  • Indulge / treat yourself
  • Find a local support group

Research indicates that people who take an active role in dealing with caregiving issues (and solving related problems) are less likely to feel stressed than those who simply worry or feel helpless.
In this chapter we explore your needs as caregiver. In the next and final chapter, we consider you in another role: the reflective and responsible middle-aged adult anticipating and planning for the time you will no longer be the caregiver, but the care recipient.

Review additional chapters of Stages of Senior Care:

Previous: Chapter 17: Financing Care  
Next: Chapter 19: Planning Your Own Future