A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need, such as an ill partner, a disabled child, or an aging loved one. However, family caregivers who are actively caring for an older adult may not self-identify as a “caregiver.” Recognizing this role can help caregivers receive the support they need.
If you are experiencing any of the following while managing your caregiving responsibilities, you have been neglecting your own health and well-being:
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor eating habits
- Failure to exercise
- Failure to stay in bed when ill
- Postponement of or failure to make medical appointments for yourself
Take steps to preserve your own health and well-being by considering some of the following tips below shared by the Family Caregiver Alliance.
- Reducing Personal Stress. Stress reducers can be simple activities like walking and other forms of exercise, gardening, meditation, or having coffee with a friend. Identify some stress reducers that work for you.
- Seeking Solutions. If your first idea does not work, select another. Do not give up after the first attempt; sometimes an idea just needs fine-tuning.
- Communicating Constructively. Respect the rights and feelings of your loved one. Recognize that they also have the right to express their feelings.
As a caregiver, it is not selfish to focus on your own needs from time to time. It is an important part of your role, and you are responsible for your own self-care.
To learn more about self-care practices and tools for family caregivers, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.