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TAKING CARE OF THE CAREGIVER


Dr. Andrew Weil has written and spoken about caregiving and also integrative medicine.

The following is a summary of tips he has developed for caregivers:

1. Place Yourself High on the Priority List

While your loved one is a top priority you must take care of yourself first or you will be unable to provide care for anyone else. When caregivers do not care for themselves they become unable to care for their loved ones.

2. Realize That You May Experience Resentment

A caregiver who spends countless hours caregiving endures emotional and even physical tolls. the cregiver may start to resent the loved one or at least the situation. Acknowledge that this is the way you feel and discuss it with a trusted and understanding family member or friend.

3. De-Stress Yourself

Anything you can do to reduce the harmful effects of stress will help.

  • Find some simple breathing exercises you can do in a minute or two.
  • Engage in yoga.
  • Play relaxing music

4. Maintain Sound Nutrition Habits

It is easy to get into the habit of eating poorly including grabbing fast food and succumbing to eating binges.

Eat healthful meals and don't let proper nutrition slip.

5. Exercise Matters

Even if you don't have time to work out you can still:

  • Park your car away from entrances.
  • Take stairs instead of elevators
  • Walk up the escalator

6. Be Careful About Alcohol or Other Substances

A caregiver may be at risk of abusing alcohol or other substances. Be aware of whether your habits are changing. Know that excessive alcohol may disrupt your ability to sleep through the night. Excessive alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns and compromise your caregiving abilities.

7. Plan to Look Forward to Something

  • Take time for yourself:
  • Schedule an evening at a concert
  • Read a book
  • Go to the mountains/seashore for a weekend
  • Establish a solid network of family and friends
  • Find someone who can step in as a caregiver in your place.

8. Find Someone Who has Successfully Done What You're Doing

Find another carergiver who succcessfully dealt with the same issues with a loved one. The sharing of information can help get through the experience.

9. Be Prepared to Say Goodbye

Death is inevitable.As caregivers prepare emotionally and logisticlly for this outcome.

  • Read books on death and dying
  • Develop advanced directives such as a health care proxy or durable power of attorney
  • Contact a local hospice organization.
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