Is there help for caregiver challenges?

When you add caregiving to your regular life responsibilities, there are many stressors that can put your own health at risk:

  • Concern about your loved one’s decline of health and abilities
  • Lack of control over what is happening in the caregiving experience
  • The amount of time and energy required for caregiving
  • Loss of privacy
  • Conflicts with work and social life because of caregiving demands
  • Disagreements with or a lack of assistance from other family members
  • The relationship you have with the person you are caring for 
  • Financial issues

Your feelings about each of these are directly related to coping with caregiving challenges. Caregivers often put their own needs last and that can cause burnout.

Those who insist on making “me time” an essential part of their routine have more energy, enjoy a more positive state of mind and ultimately are better caregivers. If you are feeling overwhelmed, resentful or just plain exhausted, consider these helpful tips:

  • Learn to say “no”
  • Set limits
  • Assess what is essential and reduce unnecessary activities
  • Delegate jobs that others can do
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Get adequate rest
  • Decrease caffeine consumption
  • Avoid overuse of alcohol, tobacco or drugs
  • Lean on friends for emotional support
  • Forgive yourself when needed and know you are doing your best
  • Educate yourself about your loved one’s illness and community resources
  • Laugh every day
  • Seek professional help for support if you feel overwhelmed
  • Listen to music
  • Learn relaxation techniques
  • Attend a support group or educational workshop
  • Write in a journal
  • Revisit activities you enjoyed before you were a caregiver

Also, consider taking advantage of local resources that will help you in your caregiving journey.

Get the help you need now to make you a better caregiver.