Caregiving can take a toll on your health

Are you a caregiver for someone elderly or ill? Remember to prioritize your health too.

Stress reduction strategies for caregivers

From the time we are children, we’re taught that it is better to give than to receive. If you’re a caregiver, you are performing a selfless, loving, and noble service. But, it can be a difficult and stressful job. It’s important to remember that by caring for yourself you will undoubtedly provide better care for your loved one.

 Consider the following tips for self-care and stress reduction:

• Gain support through a community support group or online via a caregiver support group or forum. If you are really struggling with stress, one-on-one counseling with a mental health professional may be more appropriate. People are able to find comfort in knowing that they are not the only one going through the emotional toll of being a caregiver.

 • Exercise daily and strive to maintain a healthy diet. Consistency is key! 20 minutes daily of exercise has shown to help boost a person’s mood for the next 12 hours. Every little bit helps.

 • Reserve quiet time for meditation and relaxation. The simple act of closing your eyes and taking deep breaths has such a healing and calming effect for your body, mind and soul.

 • Obtain regular respite to recharge physically and emotionally. Women sometimes defer from asking for help, but adult day care centers and in-home care support can lessen the load. The National Respite Coalition helps people secure quality respite services. Call 1-800-677-1116 or visit

 • Whenever possible, rotate responsibilities with another family member or friend.

 • Stay active and involved with hobbies. Do something daily just for the fun of it! There are numerous events always going on in this area. Take advantage of natural gifts such as a walk on a trail, in a part or on the beach. Enjoy local life and all it has to offer.

 • Maintain friendships and other social connections. Studies have shown that socially isolated individuals are at greater risk for health problems. So, talk with others about your experiences. It can lower your blood pressure and increase your immune system’s ability to fight disease.

 • Keep up with your own health care and preventive screenings. Besides improving your quality of life and keeping stress in check, adopting these strategies may help allow you to continue to provide optimal care for your loved one. While it may be better to give than to receive, think how much greater your gift of caring will be if you care for yourself first.

 Theresa A. Cavalier is a licensed independent life, long term care & disability insurance planner with Thorp & Trainer Insurance. She can be reached at 401.596.0146 or 401.447.4374 Her column appears monthly in Grace.


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