5 tips for family caregivers

(NC) Caring for someone with a chronic health condition takes time and energy, and can easily take an emotional and physical toll. If you’re feeling stressed and under pressure, these tips may help you cope.

Know the signs of caregiver fatigue. Exhaustion, sleeplessness, anger, and health problems are all signs that you may be taking on too much and need extra support. Reach out to your healthcare provider to seek treatment and contact a support group.

Seek outside support. Ask family and friends for help, whether it’s with cooking meals once a week or babysitting your kids so you have some time to rest and recharge. Community programs and volunteer organizations can offer some respite from caregiving, help with meals and housework, and provide some caregiving support.

Plan for the future. If your loved one has a condition that will get progressively worse, take steps to ensure that they will receive the care they need, now and in the future. Look into assisted living facilities or home support services available in your community. It’s also important to make legal and financial arrangements that will best meet your relative’s wishes and needs.

Learn about the condition. Finding out more about whatever is ailing someone can help you know what to expect and dispel unhelpful myths and stereotypes. Advocacy organizations often have great resources for family members, including research and support groups.

Grieve your loss. A condition like dementia may mean your loved one will face gradual losses, and you may also feel strong emotions about losing the person that they used to be. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge this grief and speak to other family members or friends who may be experiencing the same thing.

The federal government is working on a national dementia strategy that will complement existing initiatives to promote awareness, reduce stigma and support those affected and is committed to helping improve the quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers.


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