Caring for the Caregiver

caregivinghope.org expert advice on caregivingWhen caring for loved ones, it is altogether too easy to become confused about priorities. We think our primary job should be to give – and give – and give some more, to put the needs of loved ones ahead of our own, when, in fact, the opposite is true!

Make Healthy Choices

If you are not taking good care of yourself, how will you be able to care for loved ones when you are needed? Though time may seem scarce, be sure to save some for yourself. Exercise as much as possible and eat well balanced meals. Be sure to sleep your full 6-8 hour quota every night. Do everything in your power to balance mind, body and spirit, whether you do so by reading, relaxing, going out, visiting your temple, church, synagogue, the mall or the treadmill. Don’t feel guilty about that game of golf you are “stealing” time to enjoy. It is good for you, like everything, in moderation. Cultivate a sense of humor – you will need it to be an effective caregiver. 

Strengthen Your Support Systems

Cultivate your support system: family, friends and co-workers. They can be a lifeline for you when times get tough.  Many caregivers gain strength and perspective by attending support groups led by social workers or other professionals. You can also join an online support group for caregivers. It can be powerful and inspirational to share a deeply personal, common experience with others in similar circumstances. You can find acceptance, clarity and many practical tips for dealing with problem situations.

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