Helping to take care of someone can be physically and emotionally exhausting. No one truly understands the demands of caring for someone until they have personally experienced it. There are nights you do not get to sleep and there are days you may wonder if you will ever get time to yourself. It is common to experience stress, grief and frustration while caring for someone you love. It can be difficult to enjoy time with your loved one due to being focused on taking care of his/her multiple needs. As a caregiver, you may have to do tasks that are uncomfortable for you and your loved one (helping him/her get dressed, bathing him/her, etc). Our staff is available to provide education and supportive counseling for the caregiver throughout the disease process.
When caring for a loved one, it is important to also take care of yourself. Caregivers often focus so much on their loved one that they forget to practice good self-care. It will be important to take breaks from caregiving. You may need to ask friends or family members to sit with your loved one while you take a nap or run errands. Do not feel guilty for asking for help. No one can care for a loved one without some assistance. Throughout this process, remind yourself that it is ok to make mistakes and allow yourself to grieve.
Self-care activities for caregivers:
- Take a break and ask others to sit with the patient
- Take naps when the patient is sleeping
- Create a "task list" for friends and family members (often they want to help but do not know what to do)
- Practice meditation or other relaxing ritual
- Find time to read a relaxing book or listen to relaxing music
- Take care of your physical needs (get enough rest, eat regularly, exercise)
- Allow yourself to ask for help
Other Resources for Caregivers: