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Caring for Yourself

In the face of the reality of your new role, emotional distress is appropriate and understandable. It becomes essential that you find ways to care for yourself so that you will not exhaust your own emotional and physical resources.

Why care for yourself? When you become the caregiver of an elderly relative, you are likely to have many responsibilities as well as strong and conflicting feelings, which can take a toll on your mental and physical health. For example, you may feel

    • sad — You can't make your loved one feel better.
    • discouraged — Nothing that you do helps.
    • frustrated — Sandwiched between your kids and your parent.
    • alone — Nobody understands.
    • angry — You don't have any time for yourself, or your friends.
    • guilty — You can't please everybody.
    • exhausted — Your energy is sapped.
    • depressed — Things seem too overwhelming.

In the face of the reality of your new role, emotional distress is appropriate and understandable. It becomes essential that you find ways to care for yourself so that you will not exhaust your own emotional and physical resources. Many caregivers find that regular exercise, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and regular medical check-ups are important to their own health and overall well-being. Having one’s own leisure time interests and activities is also helpful.

You may find that you need additional help to cope with your feelings, to sort out the disagreements in the family, or to get crucial respite time for yourself. You may also find it helpful to join other families in exchanging caregiving concerns.

Respite care resources

 

Some excerpts from: Mace NL, Rabins PV. The 36-hour day.
Information courtesy of Kirsten Hartman, Seniors in Transition, LLC

 

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Noreen Flood
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