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Self-Care

          Caring for a loved one not only impacts the one receiving care, but it also can affect the caregiver both physically and mentally. "Caregiver burnout" consists of three major components which include emotional exhaustion, decreased feelings of personal achievement, and increased detchachment toward the one receiving care (Maslach, 2003). In order for "caregiver burnout" to be prevented, it is essential that the caregiver takes time to care for themself! Self-care will not only have a positive impact on the caregiver, but will also allow the caregiver to be effective in caring for their loved one.

Guidelines to Prevent "Caregiver Burnout"

  • Learn as much as you can about your family member's illness so that you can be the best caregiver that you can be. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more effective you will be as a caregiver.
  • Know your limits. Be realistic about how much time and energy you can invest in being a caregiver. Set your limits and clearly communicate your limits with your family members, doctors, and others who are involved.
  • Accept your feelings. Caregiving can trigger a wide variety of emotions including resentment, fear, guilt, anger, sadness, and helplessness. As long as you don't compromise the well-being of the receiver, allow yourself to feel what you feel.
  • Confide in others. Talk to others about what you feel and what you are going through. Lean on your friends, family, and your church and join a support group so that you do not feel like you are going through this journey alone.

All information was provided by http://helpguide.org/elder/caring_for_caregivers.htm.

10 Tips for Caregivers

  1. Caregiving is a job, and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.
  2. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it.
  3. When people offer to help, accept their help and suggest specific things that they can do.
  4. Educate yourself about your loved one's condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. There's a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one's independence.
  6. Trust your instincts. Most of the time they'll lead you in the right direction.
  7. Caregivers often do a lot of pulling, pushing, and lifting. Be good to your back.
  8. Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
  9. Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing you are not alone. 
  10. Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and a citizen.

Source: http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/pdfs/10_tips.pdf

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