When you’re taking care of a loved one, make time to care for yourself, too. The emotional and physical stress of caregiving can cause health problems.
A caregiver is someone who helps a family member, friend, or neighbor who is sick or has a disability. You may be a caregiver if you regularly help someone with Grocery shopping, Housework, Getting dressed, etc.
About 1 in 4 Americans are caregivers, and most caregivers also have other jobs and spend an average of 24 hours a week caring for a loved one.
When caring for a loved one, it can be hard to take care of your own health. Caregivers are more at risk for colds and the flu, and stress. This can lead to issues like back pain and trouble sleeping. Taking care of yourself will give you the energy and strength to handle the demands of caregiving.
Take these steps to lower the stress of caregiving:
Take care of your body.
- Eat healthily and get active to keep your body strong. Making smart food choices will help protect you from heart disease, bone loss, and high blood pressure. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking fast or dancing.
Take care of your mental health.
- Find ways to manage stress. You can start by taking a few slow, deep breaths.
- Do something for yourself. Set aside time each day to do something you enjoy. Try reading, listening to music, or talking to a friend.
Ask for help.
- You don’t need to do it all yourself. Ask family members, friends, and neighbors to share caregiving tasks.
At Arden Place, our team of clinicians and staff are available 24/7 to support you and your loved one. From short-term respite care to long-term memory care and diabetes management.
Written by Greg Link, Aging Services Program Specialist \ U.S. Administration on Aging