Just for you--Caregiver tips

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3 ways to give better self-care

As a caregiver, you know better than most that at-home caregiving sometimes takes a toll physically, emotionally and spiritually. Yet, it also offers great rewards—for both you and your loved one. But caregivers still need a little TLC every now and then. Maybe it’s time to recharge your batteries so you can enjoy a little downtime. Here are a few ways to give back to yourself.

  1. Build a support network: What does your support network look like? Who can you call when you need help? Maybe it’s time to make a list of people you can trust and rely on in times of need. Don’t forget to include people who have relied on you in the past. But remember this—the list is no good if you don’t use it. Try to ask for help when you need it most. It could be a simple task like asking a friend to pick up coffee creamer and eggs from the supermarket.
  2. Connect with friends: When is the last time you took an afternoon for yourself? Research shows that isolation is one of the leading contributors to depression in older adults 1. Can you recall the last time you met up with a friend or your library book club? If caregiving has taken you away from your once thriving social life and activities, perhaps it’s time to call a friend and meet for breakfast. If transportation is an issue, just pick up the phone.
  3. Remember your dreams, goals and wishes:  Have you kept your dreams alive or stored them away in the vault? Caregiving often takes up a big part of your life, but that doesn’t mean your dreams and goals should sit idle. Write down the top three things you plan to accomplish over the next year. Follow up with yourself in one month to see if you’ve made some progress.

Reference: 1.Social Disconnectedness, Perceived Isolation, and Health among Older Adults, J Health Soc Behav. Author manuscript; available in PMC Oct 5, 2009, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756979/

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