Take Care of Yourself When Caring For Others

Vicki Gerson
Updated 10/24/2019 11:39 AM

Being a caregiver is an important responsibility. Unfortunately, many caregivers ignore their own physical and mental health when taking care of a loved one. Many times, this can lead to serious health problems and interfere with your ability to provide the best care for the one you love.

"Too often people hear, 'My wife is the one with Alzheimer's, but now I'm the one in the hospital.' Such a situation is more common than you think," said Director of Operations Mary O'Connor, Senior Helpers In-home Caregivers, Des Plaines, Ill. covering the entire Chicagoland area.


"You have the responsibility for your own well-being. If you don't do a good job at it, how are you going to be able to take care of your loved one?

"You can't stop the impact of a chronic or progressive illness impacting someone you love," O'Connor added. "Being there for a loved one when they need you is a core value and something most of us wish to provide-but it can be extremely stressful and detrimental to our health."

If you are a caregiver, take steps to preserve your own health and well-being. Here are some of the ways you can stay healthy.

• Eat a healthy balanced diet

Staying healthy is extremely important when you are taking care of your loved one. Don't give up healthy meals for junk food. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, lean meats, bean, whole grains and low-fat dairy.

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• Get regular exercise

Regular exercise can reduce your stress level and boost your mood. You don't have to go to the gym. Take a 30-minute walk in the mall or outdoors. Consider yoga, Tai Chi, dancing-something you'll enjoy.

• Get enough sleep

Proper rest is important. Prioritize sleep so you can take care of yourself. Try to get into a good sleep routine. Aim for six to eight hours of sleep each night...it's really important!

• Find activities you enjoy

Take a break to relax and do something you enjoy. These activities can help you feel refreshed. Consider reading, gardening, knitting or playing games with family or friends. Get your life back!

And, remember to see your doctors for regular exams and up-to-date immunizations, including an annual flu shot.

If you would like to learn how Senior Helpers In-home Caregivers can help you with some of the challenges you are facing as a caregiver, please contact Mary O'Connor at Senior Helpers: 630-359-5775 or email her at moconnor@seniorhelpers.com.

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