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Self-Care for Caregivers - 5 Tips
Written By : Carrie Roche 
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When it comes to acting as a caregiver to the elderly, it can be easy to neglect your own needs. While you're busy fixing meals, helping with activities of daily living, and tending to the house all at the same time, you can't help but long for a moment to take care of yourself. Caregivers to the elderly deal with a plethora of challenging situations. At the end of the day, caring for yourself is the last on your to do list. However, practicing self-care for yourself as a caregiver is essential to your own health and wellness.

1. Eat foods that give you energy. Eat foods that give you energy and meet your nutritional needs at the same time. If you're in a hurry, grab a piece of fruit, a yogurt or a handful of nuts. Getting the nutrients that you need will keep both your energy and your spirits up.

2. Get plenty of rest. As a caregiver, you are constantly on the go. Many people find themselves worrying at night, and have trouble sleeping. You may begin worrying about things over which you have no control. As your mind races at turbo speed, sleep falls by the wayside. To remedy this, try the following natural techniques

  • Get a guided meditation or relaxation CD at night before going to sleep.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Don't read or watch TV in bed
  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Don't nap during the day.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
  • Establish a bedtime routine, such as nighttime shower and relaxing music that you listen to before going to sleep.

3. Try to get as organized as possible. Developing an organized system will help you do things quickly and efficiently. A lot of people work a job full-time and then take on the roll of a full-time caregiver outside of their career. Assign household chores and shopping to other family members. Schedule relaxation time with your family. Talk about your schedule and responsibilities. You will find that family is a great support network.

4. Take time for social activities. It's easy to lose sight of activities you once enjoyed when you take care of someone full-time. Be sure to carve out some time for you, to relax and unwind. During this time, avoid the urge to take on household chores, such as vacuuming and doing the dishes.

5. Get support. Join a caregiver support group. People within a support group may be able to offer advice on how to deal with caregiver stress. Get a list of names together of people you can call and ask questions so that you feel supported. Look into other care options for your loved one. Residential care homes offer 24-hour care for your loved one with trained care aids. If caring for your loved one has been come overwhelming, it may be time to look into a options outside of your home.

Carrie M. Roche, RN is a registered nurse and expert in senior living. Get more information about a residential care home Los Angeles, California at (323) 876-6370 or

  More from Carrie Roche
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