Care for yourself—physically, emotionally and mentally
- Eat properly
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Take breaks to do something that diverts your attention in a way that eases stress. Meditate, work out, read, take up a hobby, see a movie.
- Find someone to talk to about your caregiving challenges, such as a support group.
- Get a little hands-on care yourself: a shampoo, a manicure, or even just a spa-day at home.
- Keep your own medical appointments for check-ups.
The Future of Caregiving
The role of caregiving is increasingly falling on the boomer generation. Its members' aging parents require more and more help as chronic health conditions emerge and require attention. But active boomer lifestyles—having children later in life, changing jobs more frequently, and often changing geographic locations to take those new jobs—can make it difficult to add caregiving into the mix.
We care for our loved ones exactly because of our emotional attachment to them. We often don't stop to think of our actions as caregiving. Instead, we think of it as family taking care of family, friends taking care of friends. While that is what it is, I urge you to take time and consider the toll that it could be taking on you. Review the tips I've outlined to see if there is anything you can do to reduce your stress.
As so many things are, caregiving is a question of balance. Only you know what the proper balance should be. Too often we get caught up in the moment and don't stand back to reflect on how things could be made better. I hope that the report findings I've summarized for you convince you that you are not alone. Caregiving is a vital but unpaid and stressful service that many of us provide today.