Hosparus Health has been working with patient and families for the last 40 years, and we want to acknowledge the significant contributions that our family caregivers make. We could not do this without you. We understand and appreciate the stress created by the responsibilities of caregiving, and we want to offer some tips to help you take care of yourself.
Caregivers — irrespective of their age, sex, and race and ethnicity — report problems attending to their own health and well-being while managing caregiving responsibilities. They report: lack of sleep, poor eating habits, failure to exercise, failure to stay in bed while ill, and postponement or failure to make medical appointment for themselves. Family caregivers are also at increased risk for mental health issues and substance abuse issues.
Listed below are some simple steps and strategies to keep in mind to ensure that you find time and resources to take care of yourself.
- Eating balanced meals – Do so on a regular schedule. Check with your doctor, and take a multivitamin every day. Drink adequate water every day.
- Exercise – Move your body daily, even if it’s simply 15 minutes of stretching, yoga, calisthenics or walking.
- Get outdoors – Fresh air renews the body and spirit, even if you only have time for a brief outing. When possible, open a window.
- Get your zzz’s – Strive for a minimum of six to eight hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Nap when your loved one naps.
- Treat yourself – Get treatments for your own aches and pains before they turn into something more serious.
- Don’t ignore your emotions – Pay attention to your own feelings and emotions, and seek counseling if needed. We offer individual counseling and support groups at our Grief Counseling Center.
- Take time for yourself – Use relaxation or stress management methods such as meditation, visualization and yoga. Books and videos are available at our Grief Counseling Center to guide you in these techniques.
- Chuckle more often – Laugh, reminisce and share stories of happy times.
- Ask for help – Friends, family and religious groups may be eager to assist and may be waiting to be asked and directed.
- Plan ahead – Use the beginning of each week or day to list what you need to do. Doing so may help you avoid panic and rushing.
These tips can help you stay as healthy as possible while you care for your loved one. We’re always here to support you. Call us 24/7 at 800-264-0521.