The Caregiver's Survival Guide

two women smiling outdoorsCaring for an ill, aging, or disabled person can be a rewarding experience. However, depending on the level of care required and other demands on the caregiver’s time and energy, it can also become an overwhelming responsibility. It’s not easy to endure the demands of guiding a loved one through their illness, and to be a good care manager, you have to take care of your own health as well.

Following are a few tips that will keep you strong:

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Keep your routine.

If you normally get up and stretch and shower before sipping coffee as you get dressed and watch the news, don’t stop. Even if you’re more anxious about catching the doctor than catching up with the latest world crisis, stick with what’s most familiar. It will calm you and your family, especially if you still have children living at home.

Get serious about self-care.

Don’t skip your regular checkups! Make sure you get your annual exam and tell your doctor you’re caring for a sick loved one. Even better, ask to have your necessary tests performed at the same medical center where you take your loved one and try to schedule them on the same day.


Find an enjoyable physical pursuit.

I know, I know—you’ve had it drummed into your head to exercise! But do find a form of exercise you enjoy— whether it’s swimming, walking, biking, dancing or watching a movie while walking or jogging on a treadmill. Exercise increases the production of powerful feel-good endorphins, which can counteract the stress hormones that your body is probably producing more of.

Reward yourself.

Make a list of the little things you enjoy—whether it’s getting a manicure, having a latte and reading the paper at…