Self-Care for Caregivers

Being a caregiver may have a larger impact on your well being than you think.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, 2 out of 10 caregivers feel caregiving has made their health worse. To effectively care for someone else and stave off caregiver burnout, you need to first take care of yourself. Here are some self-care tips for caregivers:

  • Ask for help: Enlist support from your family, community members, church or synagogue networks, or even local nonprofit organizations. Be specific about what kind of help you need. List all of your responsibilities, including your caregiving tasks and personal chores — such as housework, child care, meal preparation, and lawn care — and then assign duties you can pass on to those who have offered help.
  • Balance your career and caregiving: Make sure your employer understands how caregiving might affect your job, and ask if your workplace supports employees with caregiving responsibilities through paid or unpaid time off. They may even offer support services such as legal, financial, or mental health counseling.
  • Join a support group: Look for support groups through your local health care provider, community center, or disease-specific associations. People in a similar situation may provide useful advice and an empathetic ear. The National Alliance for Caregiving has many resources for caregivers on its website.
  • Plan time for yourself: Make sure you take care of your basic needs, including medical appointments, regular meals, and personal care like haircuts and clothes shopping. Then, ensure you are making time for activities that support your mental and physical health, like exercising, maintaining friendships, and taking vacations.

Managing your caregiving responsibilities includes managing your health. Take time to reset and relax to ensure you’re providing the best quality of care for your loved one.


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