Senior Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about geriatric health.

What can a caregiver do to avoid or lessen the stress that caregiving causes?

Caring for an older adult can be a big job. Though taking care of a sick family member has rewards and advantages, it also can be physically and emotionally draining, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Ways to Cope with Caregiving Stress

Some ways the AARP and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend for caregivers to minimize stress include:

  • Find caregiving resources in your community
  • Take a caregiver class to learn how to best deal with the disease your loved one is facing
  • Ask for help
  • Be willing to accept help when it is offered
  • Say “no” to requests that would be overwhelming if added to your caregiver role
  • Focus on doing the best you can rather than trying to be the perfect caregiver
  • Set realistic goals
  • Stay organized by making lists and following a daily routine
  • Talk to family and friends when you need someone to listen
  • Make time every week to do something you want to do, such as go to a movie or go out for a meal
  • Find time to be physically active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • See your doctor regularly
  • Try to have a good sense of humor
  • Keep other loved ones involved as much as possible

Every caregiver – no matter how dedicated – needs and deserves a break. Take time for yourself – whether it’s running some errands alone or taking a week-long vacation.

Finding a balance between caring for your loved one and caring for yourself is critical.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how you can find ways to minimize and avoid the stresses of being a caregiver.

Learn More:

Source: Geetha Ambalavanan, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Suzanne Bell, MD, Vandalia Family Care; Archie Enoch, MD, Fairfield Road Physician Offices; Anoopa Hodges, MD, Oakwood Primary Care; Berry McCorkle, MD, Premier Infectious Disease; Elaine Scott, CNP, Brookville Family Care; Pamela Werner, MD, Miami Valley Primary Care