Tips For Family Caregivers: Taking Care of Yourself

Tips For Family Caregivers

One of the most crucial things you can do as a caregiver is to look after yourself. Caregiving is not easy. Everyone has to make adjustments and give up something. Family caregivers often have to balance work and family obligations to find time for these new responsibilities.

Caring for an older person can also be gratifying. Many people discover that taking care of others makes them feel fulfilled and that they enjoy being needed and useful. However, even the strongest person might become overburdened by the constant responsibilities of caring for someone else. Therefore, you must take care of yourself. This article can assist you in determining how to care for your own well-being so that you can care for others.

What signs point to the need for assistance?

A caregiver’s work is very selfless. Numerous caregivers neglect their own well-being due to the overwhelming amount of work they undertake. For instance, they are less likely than others to engage in routine self-care and to receive preventative medical services like annual checkups. Consequently, they are more likely to experience chronic diseases like high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and problems with their physical and mental health. They are even at a higher risk of dying prematurely.

It is not always clear when someone requires assistance. Look out for these indicators of caregiver stress:

  • Feeling anxious, worn out, or overburdened
  • Getting agitated or impatient easily
  • Feeling lonely or disconnected from other people
  • Not getting enough sleep or having problems falling asleep.
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or a loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Frequently experiencing pain, headaches, or other health issues
  • Not having enough time to work out or make nutritious food for yourself
  • Neglecting personal hygiene routines like brushing your teeth or taking showers
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medicines

Avoid waiting until you are completely overwhelmed. Take measures to reduce stressors when you can and become aware of your own warning flags.

How to ask others for help

Accepting assistance from others is not always easy. It is possible that you’re worried about being a burden or that you find it awkward to acknowledge that you need help. However, many caregivers later regret not asking for more support from friends and family because they felt they handled too much alone.

Know that many individuals want to help and that contributing makes them happy. If you have trouble asking for help, consider the following tips:

  • If it is easier for you, start with small requests. It is possible to divide enormous jobs into smaller, more manageable ones.
  • If you feel uncomfortable asking in person, consider expressing your request via email or text.
  • Consider a person’s abilities and interests when determining how they can assist.
  • Have a list of tasks that need to get done ready, then let the other person select what they want to accomplish.
  • Be truthful about the things you require and don’t need. Not every offer will be helpful.
  • It is typical for some people to say “no,” so don’t take it personally.

Who can you ask for help?

Although asking for assistance from family and friends is an excellent option, caregivers can also find support from others. Other people who could be able to assist are:

Your Doctor

Inform your physician that you work as a caregiver. They can offer you guidance on maintaining your emotional and physical well-being. Healthcare providers might also be aware of the options available in your community, such as support groups and respite care.

A counselor or other Mental Health Practitioner

There is support available if you’re experiencing depression, frustration, or anxiety. Consult your physician for recommendations on counselors, and inquire about the coverage of your plan from your health insurance provider.

Your Local Facilities

These include your local senior center, state office on aging or social services office, or local Area Agency on Aging. These organizations are likely to be knowledgeable about community resources and can even provide tips on how to access them.

Your Faith Community

Larger congregations can hold caregiver support groups. You can also approach your rabbi, pastor, or other religious authority for assistance.

What else can a caregiver do when they feel overwhelmed?

Taking care of your personal needs could be the last thing on your mind if you’re feeling overburdened with caregiving. However, taking care of yourself might help you to be a better caregiver. You’ll have more energy and strength to care for someone else if you can find little methods to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Here are a few tips to consider when you’re feeling stressed. Remember that you don’t have to accomplish everything all at once, especially if the concept of self-care makes you feel even more weary.

Be Active

Find an activity that you enjoy. That could be going on a stroll, dancing, gardening, or playing with a pet. Exercise, even for short periods of time, is advantageous.

Eat Healthily

Aim for a diet that is well-balanced and rich in a range of nutritious foods. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Sleep Well

Make an effort to sleep for seven to nine hours every night. Create a peaceful bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster. Aim for the same time every day to go to bed and wake up.

Reduce Stress

Try doing some relaxation exercises like yoga, tai chi, or meditation. Get a smartphone app that offers calming music or guided meditations.

Allow Yourself Some Time to Relax.

Set aside time each week for a hobby or pastime unrelated to caregiving. Simple activities like reading a magazine, watching your favorite TV show, or engaging in a hobby can suffice.

Take care of Your Health.

Schedule that appointment with the doctor you’ve been putting off. Inform your doctor that you are a caregiver, and they might be able to recommend local or online resources for you.

Seek Assistance

Consult a mental health professional for counseling, or speak with a trusted friend or family member. Join a caregiver support group in person or online. These people are aware of your situation and might be able to offer guidance or recommendations.

Take a Break

Seek assistance from a different family member or friend, enroll the older person in an adult day care facility, or employ an attendant to help for a few hours each week.

Be Kind to Yourself.

You don’t always need to put up a happy front. Sadness, frustration, and guilt are acceptable and natural emotions. Write in a journal or talk to a friend to express your feelings.

Remind yourself that you are not alone and that you are doing the best you can. It might be difficult for many caregivers to take care of their own health and well-being. But remember to take pride in all that you’ve accomplished. The person you are providing care for benefits significantly from your assistance.

Donate Today to Support Caregivers!

Caregiving is a demanding task that often leaves the caregivers physically, emotionally, and financially unstable. The least we can do is to try to alleviate some of their burden by supporting them via donations.

November is National Family Caregivers Month! Let’s honor the dedication and sacrifices of the family caregivers who devote their lives and resources to caring for their loved ones! Don’t forget to support them, which you can do by acknowledging their hard work and donating as much as possible:


  1. Taking Care of Yourself: Tips for Caregivers. National Institute on Aging. Accessed: 8th Nov, 2023.
  2. Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself. Mayo Clinic. Accessed: 8th Nov, 2023.
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