When caregivers neglect their own health needs, their loved ones suffer too. It is crucial that family caregivers take a break from their caregiving duties and stay attentive to their own personal health. Family caregivers often find themselves worn down, depressed, fatigued, or overwhelmed with stress to the point where they are no longer any help to their loved one. Caregivers can take certain precautions to make sure that this doesn’t happen, and that both their own health needs and their loved one’s health needs are continuously taken care of. The more a caregiver takes care of them-self physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, the better they will be able to care for their loved one.
There are some specific warning signs that indicate a caregiver is neglecting their health and letting stress devastate their life. Some of these signs include:
- A caregiver may feel angry, irritable, or enter into a state of denial about their situation.
- A caregiver may become more isolated and feel like they can’t “waste time” on activities they once enjoyed.
- A caregiver may find it hard to concentrate, especially on anything else besides their love one’s needs and what they need to accomplish next for their loved one.
- A caregiver may become overly anxious or depressed.
- A caregiver may be exhausted, but have trouble sleeping.
- A caregiver may start to develop severe health problems of their own.
- Caregivers should continue maintaining a nutritious diet and regular exercise routine.
- Caregivers should not neglect their other relationships, and should set aside time to maintain friendships and relationships with other family members.
- Caregivers should continue to participate in their favorite hobbies or pastimes.
- Caregivers should build a strong network of support that may include family, friends, or professional care services.
- Caregivers should stay informed about their own health and attend regular check-ups.
- Caregivers should educate themselves about the condition and needs of their loved one.