• Edna Davis-Brown, MPH

Tips for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is a stressful and demanding job. The well-being of the caregiver requires priority, planning, and consideration. The first consideration is who will support the care recipient if the caregiver becomes unable to continue with caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers are susceptible to depression, illness, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Any of these conditions will easily interfere with a person's ability to be an effective caregiver. A healthy goal is to recognize the signs of fatigue, ask for support, and make a plan for recuperation breaks. Caregiving can be both emotionally taxing and time consuming. However, you must give yourself a mental break once in a while. The following are suggestions for maintaining caregiver well-being:

• Become informed about the care recipient's health issues and any expected changes in behavior.

• Accept the facts and deal with your situation the best that you can.

• Seek professional help whenever necessary.

• Share the burden of caring and caregiving with family members and other interested persons.

• Talk about your problems with a trusted person.

• Don't be too shy, proud, or afraid to seek help with caregiving.

• Become aware of the limits of your caregiving abilities.

• Maintain social activities and important relationships.

• Get away from the responsibilities from time to time.

• Pace yourself. You may be responsible for caregiving for many years.

• Work off anger with physical activity.

• Plan ahead to avoid crises where possible.

• Live one day at a time.

• Recognize the worst-case scenario, but hope for the best.

• Join a family support group.

• Keep your sense of humor. 


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