Your Needs as a Caregiver
As a caregiver, it’s very easy to forget about your own needs. But taking time to meet your personal needs is very important. By caring for yourself, you are caring for your loved one.
Remember that you are not alone. Support is available, and getting that support is central to your health. There are two types of support that can provide help: informal and formal.
Informal support comes from your family, friends, neighbors and church, synagogue or faith community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let your friends and family know how they can help you.
Formal support is available from groups such as the Alzheimer’s Association, elder care centers, residential care centers, home health agencies, adult-day-care programs.
Other tips for caring for yourself
- Get plenty of rest. Caregiving takes a lot of energy, so it’s important that you give your body time to re-energize.
- Eat well-balanced meals.
- Take time to exercise.
- See your doctor for regular check-ups.
- Reserve time for yourself away from your loved one.
- Visit with friends.
- Engage in enjoyable activities. Pursue a hobby.
- Prioritize your caregiving by only doing what is most important.
- Remember it is OK to not be perfect; no one is perfect.
- Reward yourself. Caregiving is not easy, so take pride in it.
- Join a support group.
Warning signs that you need help
If you experience any of the following, you should seek help from a professional:
- Frequent use of alcohol or drugs.
- Thinking about or becoming physically violent against your loved one.
- Signs and symptoms of depression that last every day for more than 2 weeks:
- Sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness.
- Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities.
- Increase or decrease in appetite.
- Insomnia or excessive sleepiness.
- Low energy, fatigue, tiredness.
- Feeling restless or irritable.
- Frequent thoughts of suicide or death.