Coping Tips for Caregivers
Caregivers often feel they must tend to their loved one’s needs full time; however, burning yourself out can negatively affect your own health. You have to take good care of yourself in order to care for others. This is not selfish, but essential! So take a break, eat right, get out and exercise, laugh, confide in a friend, accept that you can’t do everything alone, and most of all be thankful for what you DID do today.
Give yourself a break
All of the things you do are not equally important, so set priorities and build in “me time” to your day. Look after your health, go for a walk or take a long bath when you have those free moments. Lift your spirits by having lunch with a friend, take a nap, or simply do nothing and just relax.
Ask for and accept help
As a caregiver it is important to ask for and accept help when it’s offered. Know when you’ve reached your limit and need to step away. Having others that you can rely on can be a relief. Be willing to ask for help when you need it and before frustration and exhaustion sets in.
Try to find humor and joy in the little things. When it is
funny – laugh out loud and share it.
Confide in someone
Talk to a non-judgmental individual (pastor, sister, brother,
friend) that has experienced something similar. Let that
person be your sounding board so you don’t become
isolated and can maintain a clear head and feel heard.
Be thankful – daily
End your day by taking a minute to breathe, step outside and
look up at the night sky. List off the things that you are thankful
for and recognize that what you did today does matter.
Jeff from Bangor, Michigan helped his father care for his mother when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “Mom was the one with the chronic diagnosis, yet my dad, her main caregiver, was beginning to decline rapidly,” said Jeff. “The staff at Caring Circle spoke with our family about receiving respite care for Mom at the Hanson Hospice Center, to give my father a much needed break. Although Dad went to visit her every day, he was able to go home and sleep knowing that Mom was cared for. After this experience our family planned for Mom to revisit the Hanson Hospice Center once a month for respite care. This made such a positive change in my dad’s health and ability to be Mom’s caregiver.”