6 Ways to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

HealthAfter50 | Oct 18, 2016 Dec 10, 2016

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What to know

Many caregivers are so busy caring for others that they often neglect their own emotional and physical health. While caregiver stress is common, the right support, knowledge, and self-care strategies can help manage it.

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1. Lean on loved ones

Avoid being the sole caregiver, if possible. Adult children, siblings, and family friends can help with things like grocery shopping or rides to doctor appointments.

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2. Let it out

Talk to a family member, friend, clergy member, or counselor about what you’re experiencing, or seek a local or online support group. Research shows that caregivers with emotional support report less stress and fewer health ailments than those without such connections.

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3. Get organized

Stay on top of your schedule, as well as your loved one’s. Keep a calendar, write yourself notes, or set an alarm to remember your own doctor appointments or to take medication.

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4. Exercise regularly

Physical activity is good for the body and the mind. Endorphins, released in the brain during exercise, promote feelings of well-being. Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

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5. Eat right

Treat yourself well by eating regular, well-balanced meals that include lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose foods that are low in fat to avoid excessive weight gain during this stressful time.

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6. Look into respite care

Respite care, in which your loved one is cared for on a temporary basis by a professional caregiver or an adult daycare center, will allow you some much-needed time off to do something you enjoy or go on a vacation. The Alzheimer’s Association has more information on respite care.