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Caregivers: Care for Yourselves Too
last updated:
Thu, 11/18/2010 3:00 PM

Methodist Hospice does not just care for the patient we care for the caregiver as well. As healthcare providers throughout the Methodist Hospitals in Memphis, this is true for all of us. The term "caregiver" refers to anyone who provides assistance to someone else who is in some degree, incapacitated and needs help. Learning how to help the caregiver will allow us to also help the patient as well in whatever are we provide care. One way we can help them is by encouraging them to care for themselves so they can better care for the patient and also what to do when they need to relieve the stress brought in their role of being caregiver.

Caregiver Survival Tips

  • Plan ahead by setting realistic goals for what you can do physically, emotionally, and financially. 
  • Accept that there are things you cannot control.
  • Learn about available resources that are available to help you in your role as a caregiver.
  • Develop Contingency plans.
  • Work to keep your care recipient as independent as possible in order to reduce your stress and maintain dignity for them. 
  • Participate in support network for caregivers and get respite care.
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Practice good communication skills.
  • Take care of your own medical needs.
  • Get some form of regular exercise.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries. Know when to say “No.”
  • Learn to ask for help.

Remember that almost everyone is a caregiver for a family member at some point, not just those with someone under hospice care. Plan ahead for those times when you will be stressed as a caregiver. It happens to everyone. If you have a plan of action, you will be better prepared to deal with the stress so that it does not interfere in your life or the care you are providing. No one will be helped if you become sick from too much stress.

Try these stress busters:

  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Engage in your favorite activity.
  • Read a Favorite Book.
  • Talk with a friend.
  • Take a walk or ride a bike.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Share favorite Memories.
  • Watch a favorite movie or go to the movies.
  • Write or record memories, poetry, thoughts.
  • Try artwork (calligraphy, painting, drawing).
  • Do puzzles (jigsaw, crosswords).
  • Allow for some quiet personal time.

Remember the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

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Helen Schlessinger is the Director of Clinical Services for Methodist Hospice. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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