Seven Ways Caregivers Can Care For Themselves

While home health care companies do a lot for their patients, they don't do nearly as much as the primary caregiver does. If you are a caregiver, you know how mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting it can be. Here are some things you can do as a caregiver to take care of yourself.

1. Remember that it is ok to ask for help. Even if the person you are caring for is your parent, remember that it is not solely up to you. You can ask your home health care company for more aide visits or you can ask if they know of some volunteers who can come in and help you. You can also talk to friends, neighbors, and other family members.

2. Don't get burned out. If you are starting to lose your patience or become depressed, give yourself a break. Even small breaks can make a big difference, especially if you use the time to do the things that really uplift you. 

3. Talk to someone. Most home health care companies have therapists and chaplains they can refer you to. Caring for another person can be exhausting, and if that person is a loved one who is dying, you will also be going through the grieving process. Find someone who will really listen to you and allow you to process all of your emotions. 

4. Exercise. It may be difficult to find time if you are the primary caregiver but it is imperative that you take care of yourself first. You can do a few minutes here and there while you are at home if it is too difficult to get away. Try doing some:

  • jumping jacks and sit-ups
  • stretching or yoga (even a few minutes really helps)
  • rebounding 
  • jump roping 
  • dancing

5. Eat well. It will be tempting to pick up fast food but resist the urge (most days anyway!) Your body needs nutrients to keep it going. Try adding some fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies to your diet, too. 

6. Meditate. Take a few minutes each day to meditate. Turn on some soft music and do some deep breathing. Try to clear your mind of all your worries and concerns. Even a couple of minutes can make a big difference in how your day goes. 

7. Find a hobby. Do not give up all of the things that you love. If you don't have a hobby, find one you can do from inside the home if necessary. 

As you take care of yourself, you will be happier and healthier. Good luck!