Tips & Resources
Caregivers Living a Healthy Lifestyle
While there are external factors that can affect caregiver health and ability to care for both their loved one and themselves, many factors are under an individual’s control.
• Managing stress which can be influenced by an individual’s coping skills, relationship with the person receiving care, and level of support available, is paramount in managing your caregiving responsibilities.
• Setting personal goals for taking care of yourself will help you focus on your own health needs.
• Taking action based on your goals is of course key to improving your own health and ability to care for a loved one. Regularly taking some free time for yourself is a step towards a goal of reducing your overall stress level and improving your mental health.
• Communicating constructively will help you get the support you need.
• Understanding the importance of asking for and accepting help. Caregivers can even identify ways in which they need support.
• Incorporating exercise into the daily routine as much as possible is often more critical for caregivers to ward off health problems.
• Caregivers should recognize and learn how to cope when negative emotions take over one’s ability to enjoy activities outside of caregiving.
• Developing a partnership, or at the very least clear communication, with the health care provider is important so you understand the loved one’s health conditions, but it’s also an opportunity for
the caregiver to mention any health concerns of their own and have them addressed.
“Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers” from the Family Caregiver Alliance provides more details about actions a caregiver can take to address each of the steps above.
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center
This online resource will connect you to a wide variety of technical assistance and information related to respite care, as well as an online search tool containing information about respite care programs and funding nationwide.
National Caregiver Alliance and National Center on Caregiving Family Care Navigator
This online database provides State-by-State listing of a variety of resources for caregivers of older adults and/or individuals with disabilities. Topics include legal assistance, sources of respite care, government assistance programs, private organizations and general information.
A starting point on the way to a healthier lifestyle as a caregiver could be to completing the “Caregiver Self-assessment Questionnaire” on the next two pages. This checklist is found on the web site for the National Alliance for Caregiving and was developed by the American Medical Association.