Eight Keys to Self Care for Caregivers

Caring for an aging relative or friend can be exhausting, especially if you have a job and other responsibilities at home.    Here are eight tips to help you avoid caregiver burnout:

  • Notice your energy:  Nobody can do two or three jobs without feeling it.  Try to keep tabs on how you’re feeling, before you get sick yourself
  • Write down tasks:  With many balls in the air, it’s the only way you won’t forget to do something that’s really important.
  • Prioritize those tasks:  It may not be possible to get to everything on your list.  Ranking them makes sure the important ones are completed first.
  • Schedule “Me Time”:  There’s no need to feel guilty about taking some time for yourself.  Those who are relying on your care will ultimately thank you for doing so.
  • Clarify assumptions:  Make sure you and the person you’re caring for clearly understand what you can…and can’t…do.
  • Express needs and explore options:   It may be that you can’t continue to carry out your caregiving responsibilities indefinitely.  If so, you should talk about getting help from other family members, community agencies or professional caregivers.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself:  Superheroes only exist in comic books and movies.
  • Breathe, and slow down:   It may be the best way…and the only way…to get everything done.

Need more information on who to ask for services for an aging parent, or tips on how to communicate with a loved one about their care options?   Or maybe you could use a few reassuring words to help manage the physical and emotional aspects of caring for others.

That’s when you should Ask Elizabeth, a free service offered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care.  Anyone can call 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549) or chat online through our web site (www.saintelizabeth.com), to connect with a qualified health professional and gain confidential and practical information.

Ask Elizabeth is part of Saint Elizabeth’s Aging Well @ Home Institute, which draws on the wealth of our experience in research, education, innovation and caregiving support.   At Saint Elizabeth, we are constantly striving to make health better, especially for seniors.