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Caregiving – Making Time for You

Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. ~ Eleanor Brownn

Caring for a loved one who is ill or frail can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be one of the toughest things you’ll ever do in your life.

Senior man sitting on a wheelchair with caregiver

Caring for someone is incredibly fulfilling, but it can take a toll. Be good to yourself! 

Preparing meals, giving medicines, arranging medical care, paying bills—tasks like these take a lot of time and energy. So it’s no wonder that caregivers often give short shrift to themselves—there’s not much room on that daily must-do list for anything personal.

Sound familiar? If you find yourself nodding yes, then repeat this caregiving mantra: You can’t do a good job of caring for someone else if you don’t take care of yourself.

Show yourself some humankindness

Here are some suggestions on how to carve out some much-needed—and deserved—me time:

Accept and ask for help. Gladly say yes to offers of help so that you can do something for yourself, whether that’s seeing your own doctor or recharging with a walk. And don’t hesitate to be specific about what might help you most. It’s OK to say, for example, “Can you stay with Mom for two hours this Wednesday so I can see my dentist?”

Seek out community services. These services—such as nursing care, adult day care, and home delivered meals—can help lighten your load. To find out what’s available, call the Nevada Aging and Disability Services at 702.486.3545 or visit http://www.adsd.nv.gov.

Make your own health a priority. Caregivers are often so busy tending to others that they neglect their own health—which helps explain why they’re more likely than other adults to develop serious health problems. So don’t skip checkups, screening tests, or necessary medical care. Learn self-care tools at our Powerful Tools for Caregivers Workshop (call 702.616.4900 for information or to register).

And do your very best to eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough shut-eye. Some days that may be easier than others. Do what you can—and remind yourself why it’s important for you and your loved ones.

Sources: Family Caregiver Alliance; Office on Women’s Health

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