family caregiver taking care of elderly loved oneBeing a Family caregiver for your aging loved is not easy. It can be very stressful and challenging but very rewarding. Most of the time, family caregivers feel the need to cancel plans, put off their own needs or make sacrifices to meet the care needs of their aging loved.




In This Family Caregiving Article:

Are You A Family Caregiver?
How To Take Care of Yourself As A Family Caregiver
Tips To Help Family Caregivers Cope with Caregiving Stress
Reduce Stress For Family Caregivers


Are you a family caregiver? If you are you have to remember that you need to take care of yourself and prioritize your health as well. Ignoring your own needs for too long and constantly making sacrifices for the health and wellness of another can eventually lead to a decline in your own health. The stress in caregiving may contribute to depression or serious illness.


Did you know that most caregivers find it very challenging to find time for themselves, as well as manage physical and emotional stress from caregiving? If you are facing the same issues, don’t worry you are not alone. This article will give you tips on how you can take care of yourself and cope with caregiving stress, thus making you a healthy caregiver.


How to Take Care of Yourself as a Family Caregiver

You want to be the best caregiver you can be, don’t you? But in order to achieve this, you need to learn how to take care of yourself first. How can you take care of others when you can’t even take care of yourself?


You must prioritize your overall wellness, by staying healthy, tending to emotional and spiritual needs, and making the time to take care of your other obligations. Whether it is attending church, going to doctor appointments, doing house chores or paying bills, you need to take care of your own needs first. If you don’t, your stress level may increase, which may eventually take a toll on your physical or mental health.


Taking care of yourself does not mean leaving your aging family member alone for hours at a time, ignoring their special requests or avoiding your caregiving duties. In fact, you can begin taking better care of yourself by taking just a few simple steps that can be done while providing care for your aging loved one.


You can increase your physical activity by taking your elderly loved one for a walk. This can be great exercise for you, particularly if you are pushing a wheelchair. You can also begin improving your health and your loved one’s health by preparing healthy meals for you both to enjoy. By supplementing your diet with vitamins and taking required medications as prescribed by your doctor, you can also help to ensure that you stay healthy and are able to continue to fulfill your duties.


Another simple way to do something for yourself and your loved one is to incorporate more laughter into your day. Watch funny movies or old comedy shows together to take advantage of the healthful benefits of laughter.


Lastly, while you are making doctor appointments for your loved one, remember to schedule your medical appointments as well, if necessary.


Tips to Help You Cope with Caregiving Stress

Stress is a major factor when it comes to your health as a family caregiver. You can better cope with stress and reduce your stress level by making time to tend to your needs and take care of your own responsibilities.


If you can take breaks in between, perhaps while your loved one is napping or watching TV, it will definitely help lower your stress level and improve your health.


Here are some things you can do during your breaks:

  • Stretch or do yoga
  • Pray, read scripture or meditate
  • Rest
  • Pay bills online
  • Catch up on emails
  • Enjoy a quick phone call with a friend
  • Schedule appointments for yourself or other family members

Aren’t you surprise at how much you can do in a few minutes? Just by doing these simple things you can decrease caregiving stress and improve your overall health.


How Family Caregivers Can Reduce Stress

To further reduce caregiving stress and be a healthy family caregiver, you should also consider these five tips:


1. Accept help – Accept the help of family members who are willing to care for your elderly loved one so you can take breaks.


2. Seek out assistance – Familiarize yourself with local organizations that may provide low-cost or free assistance to caregivers, such as respite care, Meals on Wheels programs and adult day centers.


3. Join a support group – Look for a local support group for caregivers. If there is nothing available locally, look online for a  caregiver’s forum where you can share experiences and see how others deal with stress.


4. Know your limits – Know when you can no longer provide the level of care your elderly loved one needs. Prepare for the future by determining what will happen when you can no longer be the family caregiver.


5. Relax –Let someone else take care of you. You spend your days caring for your loved on so it’s totally okay to allow someone else to take care of you. Whether it is a massage, a day at the spa or just letting other family members prepare your favorite meal or do the laundry, allow yourself to be cared for sometimes.


It is always a blessing to be able to care for an aging parent or ailing loved one, but your own health is at stake if you ignore your own needs and allow the stress to become overwhelming. Stay healthy and take care of yourself so you can continue to provide the most effective care possible.


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