Life does not stop for caregivers because their loved ones are coping with serious illness or disease. In fact, life can become infinitely more complicated – physically, emotionally and financially.
While caregivers help their loved ones through diagnosis and treatment, they also must tend to daily responsibilities such as making meals, putting the kids to bed and paying the bills. Usually, the caregiver must continue to manage their job.
Traits that can be found in every loving caregiver are strength and patience, and these are admirable qualities. But to be truly strong, caregivers must give themselves permission to also care for themselves.
Research has shown that family caregivers experiencing extreme stress can age prematurely, and national agencies studying caregiving and health report that nearly 72 percent of caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should. Twenty percent of employed female caregivers over 50 report symptoms of depression, as compared to eight percent of their non-caregiving peers.
Caregivers need breaks. Caregivers will hear that time and again, but they might be so overwhelmed they cannot decipher how to get those breaks.
Here are some tips aimed at allowing you, the caregiver, some necessary respite:
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