Deliver Help and Hope to Hungry Seniors This Thanksgiving Season. Donate



Care For The

Caring for a Loved One

10 Ways to Deal With Caregiver Stress

When taking care of others, it's critical that you don't neglect your own mental and physical health

It’s no secret: Helping to care for a sick or dying loved one exacts a steep emotional toll. One study found that as many as one in three caregivers rate their stress level as high, and half say they have less time to spend with family and friends.

But when you're caring for others, it's critical that you first take care of yourself. By not doing so, you put yourself at risk of exhaustion, health problems and even total burnout.

See also: Can You Get Compensated for Caregiving?

These 10 tips will help keep your stress in check.

1. Put your physical needs first. Eat nutritious meals. Don't give in to stress-driven urges for sweets or overindulge in alcohol. Get enough shut-eye; if you have trouble sleeping at night, try napping during the day. Schedule regular medical checkups. Find time to exercise, even if it means you have to ask someone else to provide care while you work out. If you experience symptoms of depression — extreme sadness, trouble concentrating, apathy, hopelessness, thoughts about death — talk to a medical professional.

2. Connect with friends. Isolation increases stress. Getting together regularly with friends and relatives can keep negative emotions at bay.

Save Money: Get AARP member discounts on travel, shopping and more

3. Ask for help. Make a list of things you have to do and recruit others to pitch in. Even faraway relatives and friends can manage certain tasks.

4. Call on community resources. Consider asking a geriatric care manager to coordinate all aspects of your loved one's care. Other service providers, including home health aides, homemakers and home repair services, can shoulder some of the many responsibilities of caregiving. Volunteers or staff from faith-based organizations or civic groups might visit, cook or help you with driving.

Next: Give Yourself a Break >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

From The

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Resource Center

Find tools, work sheets and tips on how to plan, prepare and succeed as a caregiver. Select a Caregiving Resource Center topic from the drop-down menu below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get free basic lenses at

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.