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Caregivers: Providing the Best Care Possible By Taking Care of Yourself

Posted Feb 20 2012 9:19pm

Amber Paley is a guest post and article writer bringing to us tips for caregivers.  Outraged by the rate of abuse in nursing homes, Amber spends much of her professional life writing about nursing home abuse at

Being a full-time caregiver is far from simple.  It’s time-consuming, emotionally draining, and leaves you little time for yourself.  Admitting this is easy, but what’s not so easy is taking the time to take care of you first.  What caregivers need to realize is that by taking time for themselves, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to take care of their loved one.  As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite; by taking care of yourself, you are ultimately offering your loved one better care.  A caregiver who is happy and healthy will provide better care to their loved one than a caregiver who isn’t.  Below you’ll find some tips to help you remain happy and healthy and, ultimately, provide your loved one with the best care possible.

Know and Accept Your Limits

As a caregiver it is imperative that you know as much possible about your loved one’s medical condition/s.  You must also recognize what you can do to help your loved one as well as what you cannot.  Be sure to set your limits for how much time you can spend caring for your loved one and make arrangements for those times when you cannot be there; a set schedule is the best way to stay organized and arrange for another person or care professional to help you with your caregiver duties.  And when people offer to help, LET THEM.  There is only so much one can physically, mentally, and financially take as a caregiver.  Be open to new technologies, techniques, or ideas that will help your loved one be independent or make your life easier as a caregiver.

Nurture Your Mental and Physical Health

Mental health isn’t something that many consider when they think about their overall health.  However, our mood is something that can affect us physically.  Stress and depression are known to adversely affect our hearts, among other organs; they also affect our energy levels and mental drive and ability to do things.  Thus, as a caregiver, it is imperative that your mental health is good so that you can provide the best care possible to your loved one.  Talk to loved ones, friends, and other caregivers, or a therapist; do not hold feelings or problems in, express them and discuss them with others.  And ensure that you are maintaining your physical health.  Go to a doctor regularly for check-ups.  Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep.

Reward Yourself

Whether or not you want to consider it one, being a caregiver is a job.  It’s physically and mentally draining and it is important that you reward yourself in order to stay sane.  Take a vacation every now and then, or at least dedicate a few hours a week to you.  Go for a walk or shopping; read a book, listen to music, go out with friends, etc.  It doesn’t matter what you do or for how long; even it if it’s only for a few minutes, take time for you.


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