Self Care

Many caregivers struggle to find time and energy to care for themselves; but, it is vital for maintaining the physical and emotional strength required to carry on effectively caring for a loved one.

Caregivers will often be in their role for an extended period of time so finding time for recreational or social activities and staying healthy with exercise and good nutrition should be included as a priority in the development of a care plan.

One way to allow others to provide help is to enlist the assistance of family and friends to undertake some of the visiting/care/chores involved in providing care. People are happy to help and relieve some of the workload. Having help goes a long way in preventing caregiver burnout. Even family and friends at a distance can help with ongoing tasks. For example, siblings in other cities can undertake a parent’s financial management.

Taking a break on a regular basis from caregiving responsibilities will actually make it easier to be an effective caregiver. Sufficient respite is an essential part of caregiving. Here are some examples of respite options:

  • Find someone that can provide at-home care for a few hours on a regular basis.
  • Have a loved one in your care attend one of the excellent day programs available through VIHA.
  • Enlist a sibling to visit and take over caregiving for a weekend.
  • Try residential respite programs which are available to provide caregivers a break from their role.

Sometimes people being cared for resist respite options, such as day programs. Their physician or nurse may be of assistance in explaining the importance of respite to them for someone in a caregiving role.