Caring for Yourself When Caring for Another: Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

female nurse holding hands and laughing with senior woman sitting down

You are a caregiver if you care for someone who needs help. Caregiving can be difficult despite the great sense of reward you may feel. To continue being a good caregiver, you need to take care of yourself. One way to do that is to make sure you have consistent breaks from your caregiving responsibilities, called “respite.” Short breaks can be a key part of maintaining your own health.

Respite care allows the caregiver some time off from their caregiving responsibilities. It can take the form of different types of services in the home, adult day care, or even short-term nursing home care so caregivers can have a break or even go on vacation. Research shows that even a few hours of respite a week can improve a caregiver’s well-being. Respite care may be provided by family, friends, or local business.

Still not able to take a break? Consider joining an online support group. It’s important for you to have an opportunity to share your experiences with others in similar circumstances and to get support and new resources from them. Also, be sure to let your doctor know that you are a caregiver, especially if your caregiving responsibilities are making you feel stressed or anxious. Your healthcare provider may be able to suggest support groups offered in your local the community.


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