Top Ten Tips for Caregivers
- Take care of your own health. That means both your physical and emotional health.
- Schedule recommended doctor's visits and health screenings.
- Examine how you can fit a 30-minute exercise break into your day.
- Do your best to eat a balanced diet.
- Make sure you are getting adequate sleep.
- Recognize the signs of depression and talk with your health care professional if you are experiencing them.
- Enlist the help of others. Caregiving should be a team effort.
- Family and friends may want to help but often are uncertain what to offer. Keep a list of chores and errands handy so you will have something specific for them to help with.
- Explore what community resources and services are available to assist you with your caregiving. Don't think you have to go it alone and do it all your self.
- Plan for what-ifs. Take one day at a time, but prepare for the future.
- Consider who would provide care for your loved one should you be unable to.
- Have the alternate caregiver(s) spend time with your relative. It will give you a break and make it easier for everyone should you need his or her help on short notice.
- Keep your expectations realistic.
- Be realistic about your abilities and how much you can do.
- Recognize which problems you can do something about and which are beyond anyone's control; focus on the former.
- Be realistic about the abilities of the person you are caring for.
- Enjoy the memories but realize their needs and relationships are changing.
- Recognize that there are many rewards to be had.
- Take time for yourself.
- Arrange regular time to take a break from your caregiving responsibilities. Also called respite, every caregiver needs more of this than they realize or admit.
- Talk with family, friends, church and social service groups to set up regular respite care.
- Consider home care services and adult daycare.
- Remember, it's important to keep up your own interests and activities as much as possible.
- Seek Support.
- Acknowledge your feelings.
- You may have times when you feel angry, frustrated, anxious, and even resentful. These are common feelings among caregivers. Don't try to ignore them: develop strategies to help you deal with them.
- Talk with others (friends, counselors, a support group), write your thoughts and feelings in a journal, develop an exercise routine, and learn some relaxation techniques.
- Look at your caregiving situation closely. Do you have help and time for yourself?
- Educate yourself.
- Being well informed about your loved one's illness or disability
with specific tasks related to his care promotes confidence and decreases anxiety.
- Ask questions of health care providers.
- Participate in educational programs related to caregiving issues whenever possible.
- Being well informed about your loved one's illness or disability and comfortable
- Give yourself some credit. You may feel you are not doing enough for you loved one or not doing a good job.
- Be forgiving of your own limitations and mistakes.
- Remind yourself daily of all that you do and the difference you are making in you relative's life.
- Pat yourself on the back frequently.
- Laugh! Do this often and loudly. It is
free; good for you health and something you can share with your loved
Jefferson Area Board for Aging/Central
and Western Virginia Alzheimer's Association:
866-912-4464 Provides information and referrals to useful resources and services within the community.
United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area
Information and Referral Center:
Provides information and referrals to a variety of community resources in Counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson.