- Anger, sometimes leading to physical violence
- Dissatisfaction with life
- Stress-related physical conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems or insomnia
- Changes in ability to work or do recreational activities
- Changes in personal and professional relationships
- Physical changes and side effects
- Management of symptoms and medications
- Financial demands of healthcare needs
- Extra demands on time and energy
- Changes in family roles and responsibilities
- Changes in work time and time to perform professional responsibilities
- Pressure of trying to keep up with the caregiving and still having a life outside of work and the home
Steps to Care for Yourself
- Take breaks—Schedule quiet time, visit with friends who can offer positive reinforcement, or take regular days off from routine. Home health agencies may offer “respite care” or adult day care programs that can give you a break.
- Take care—Eat balanced meals, get an adequate amount of sleep, and check with a doctor about any continuing problems.
- Understand your limits—Find local resources that can offer physical, emotional, and psychological support to you as a caregiver. Realize that you cannot do everything for everyone. Find out if your state offers helpful programs.
- Getting help—Relieve feelings of isolation, anger, and frustration by seeking out the help of counselors or support group.
- Plan ahead—Take advantage of professionals who can help you get ready for legal, financial, or long-term health issues before you need them. Accept that your loved one's status may change and you may not be able to help any further. If necessary, seek guidance for end of life issues.
Children of Aging Parents http://www.caps4caregivers.org
Family Caregiver Alliance http://www.caregiver.org
Alzheimer Society of Canada http://www.alzheimer.ca
Canadian Caregiver Coalition http://www.ccc-ccan.ca
Amirkhanyan AA, Wolf DA. Caregiver stress and noncaregiver stress: exploring the pathways of psychiatric morbidity. The Gerontologist. 2003;43:817-827.
Bakas T, Burgener SC. Predictors of emotional distress, general health, and caregiving outcomes in family caregivers of stroke survivors. Top Stroke Rehabilitation. 2003;9:34-35.
Caregiver health and wellness. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/seniors/caregiving/caregiver-health-and-wellness.html. Updated April 2012. Accessed March 27, 2014.
Caregiver stress. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/seniors/caregiving/caregiver-stress.html. Updated February 2012. Accessed March 27, 2014.
McCausland J, Pakenham KI. Investigation of the benefits of HIV/AIDS caregiving and relations among caregiving adjustment, benefit finding, and stress and coping variables. AIDS Care. 2003;15:853-869.
Raina P, O’Donnell M, Schwellnus H, et al. Caregiving process and caregiver burden: conceptual models to guide research and practice. BMC Pediatrics. 2004;4:1.
Take care of you yourself. Alzheimer's Association website. Available at: http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure%5Fcaregiverstress.pdf. Accessed March 27, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2014 -
- Update Date: 00/32/2014 -