Caregivers need to care for themselves, too
This article was originally published on May 29, 2012 and expired on August 1, 2012. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.
If you're a caregiver, maintaining your energy and
vitality is important for you personally and for your family, said a University
of Illinois Extension family life educator.
"The roles and responsibilities a person has as a
caregiver can seem overwhelming. Because the demands of caregiving can continue
indefinitely, it's important to understand the warning signs of stress and how
to cope with the pressures," said Cheri Burcham.
According to Burcham, surveys show that many caregivers
frequently feel frustrated, anxious, and depressed. They also often experience
physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach disorders, and sleeplessness. Each
caregiver experiences his or her own warning signs and symptoms of stress and
needs to be aware of them. They can often indicate that the caregiver is
What are some ways that caregivers can manage stress and
take care of themselves?
their feelings to others, for example, a trusted family member, friend, clergy
person, or in a caregiver support group.
themselves of the mental attitude that they have to do it all; they
should try to delegate tasks to other family members or to service providers in
care of their physical health, eating balanced meals and exercising regularly.
the social activities that are most meaningful to them and try to keep involved
with groups and hobbies.
negative ways of coping with stress, for example, over- or under eating, relying
on alcohol, and misusing drugs.
the care receiver to be as independent as possible.
personal time, scheduling time away from their caregiving duties without
feeling guilty and thinking that they have to do it all.
Respite care is also an opportunity for the caregiver to
get away from their duties and recharge their batteries. This service provides
for the temporary supervision of a care receiver in which a provider can come
to the home or the care receiver can be taken to a location to receive care,
"Often respite programs can be found in places such
as hospitals, nursing homes, home health care agencies, adult day services, and
religious organizations. There are many sources to contact to find out where to
find respite services, including the Illinois Department on Aging Senior
Helpline at 1-800-252-8966 or www.state.il.us/aging,
the U.S. Administration on Aging Eldercare Locater at 1-800-677-1116 or www.aoa.gov , or the local Area Agency on Aging
"Remember, managing a care receiver's care does not
mean you have to provide the care yourself; it's just making sure
they are getting care," she said.
Source: Cheri Burcham, Extension Educator, Family Life, email@example.com
Pull date: August 1, 2012