Friday, September 28, 2007

Caregiving Can Take a Toll on Your Health: Take Control

The stress and time that caregiving requires can put a strain on a person's health. Family members, friend, and health care professionals can give you a break and help out when you cannot be there.

Find out what tasks family and friends are willing to help with. Keep the list of people you can call on with their telephone numbers and a list of things they will help you with.

A structured schedule and tasks that need to be taken care of are a big help to those that are helping. This provides a framework of what needs to be done, and when. Having this list ready ahead of time will also take the stress off of you when you are busy.

Make your own health your first priority. Numerous research studies have shown that caregiver stress can cause illness and premature death due to the stressors of caregiving. Investing in yourself is not selfish, it is necessary for the preservation of your own health and well-being. Taking care of you first will assure that you will be capable of meeting your loved one's needs later. Staying fit and healthy helps you cope, manage stress, and make it through the tough days when they come.

Be dedicated to a health routine that cares for you so that you can be there to care for your loved one. Schedule time for yourself. It's important to be involved doing things that you enjoy to refuel and re-energize.

Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of rest. This will reduce your stress, give you more energy and improve your mood.

See your doctor regularly. Emotional stress and turmoil can be hard on your health.

Take time for yourself several times each week to recharge your batteries.