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Harvard Health Blog
Self-care for the caregiver
- By: Marlynn Wei, MD, JD,
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Caregivers usually forget to take care of them selfs.
Always remember self care, if you are in no condition to care you most definitely do not want to end up being the one that someone else is caring for.
Give your self time(your time) exercise, detach your self,
Eat well, rest well and accept what is taking place with your person in need. Someone has to be the driver.
Surround your self with positive and supportive friends.
Do not get dragged in to the storm, pull them on to your peace.
Karma will give you energy
Be kind and understanding to those that need you
Care giving can be pretty full on and isolating. What ever help you can get from social, govt and community services should be your main priority to allow you some time for yourself personally and respite. I would speak to people in social services, community care, respite services and any others in a similar situation to you to get their advice on what help is out there and don’t be afraid to accept services because you will need it and their may even be govt funding available for it. No easy job is care giving and extremely vital to the community so I would not be surprised if their is more govt and community support out there for the caregiver.
Thank you so much for understanding our situation and for the sage advice….it can be a
very lonely job……because of the nature of being
a caretaker, it is easy to neglect our own needs
to an extreme point
It is a very good and Timely article globally as the rising life expectancy coupled with break up of Joint family system has thrown open the challenge of Caregivers in developing countries. It is rather sad that I am currently associated with an Active ageing Centre in a Metro Town Bangalore in India and have seen senir citizens In north and for 2 Years in Kerala with an highest life expectancy . My observation that it is high time that the care givers health is also taken in policies for the elderly as different morbidities necessiate a different and customised approach.
Very actualized theme.
In your opinion, when do you consider this stress correspond to a proffessional illness and the person must receive the health attention under the coverage of labor laws?
Thanks for the opinion.
It is a very informative, pragmatic and useful article. We see the care giver is the least cared person.All the attention gets focussed on the patient.
It’s very essential that care giver should remain fit and robust to take care of all-time changing needs of the grave situations.
The tips, elaborated in the article, are practicable and worth- emulating.
Thanks for such a nice article.
I am the wife and caregiver of my husband who has mental health issues. and Alzheimer’s .it is hard on me and our Special needs Daughter. SSD does not give me caregivers pay. I only get Spouse benefits not much. But It is stressful especially when He gibber jabbing doesn’t make sense and has AdD, hearing problems etc. I pray every day for his healing and God to give me strength. Take care, everybody . Thanks for letting me air it out.
The exhaustive life of a CAREGIVER has sometimes bad consequences.
I know one who dedicated more than 10 years of his life and he gain a potential lethal CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIA
SUSTAINED VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA and a CARDIAC DEVICE TO DETECT AND SHOCK THE HEART.
He care his wife suffering from MYELOMA.
Thanks for a great summary! You mention how essential self-compassion is to self-care for caregivers. There are specific training opportunities in mindful self-compassion (MSC) and the developers of MSC, Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer, offer free on-line meditations and exercises that help cultivate the skill of self-compassion. The 8-week MSC program has solid empirical evidence in terms of reducing anxiety and depression, enhancing wellbeing and many other benefits, including acting as a buffer against compassion fatigue.
Where can I get more information on this?
This is very important information. I spent 6 years caring for my grandmother and it was incredibly stressful at times. I survived those years with lots of exercise, regular massage and yoga (which I did before my time with her and still do). I knew the importance of caring for myself but my grandmother would (try to) make me feel selfish and guilty. That had more to do with our generational differences than anything though, and she never wanted me to leave the house. Please do take care of yourself if you are a caregiver. If you are stressed out and unhealthy, you aren’t much help for anyone else.
Thanks so much, I’m retired Registered Dietician and my oldest sister is now on hospice, she doesn’t have family so I’m trying to help out
Thanks for the info cuz need to destress
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