Caregiver's Guide

Caregiving can be rewarding, but it also is challenging. If you’re a caregiver you may be feeling overwhelmed, and you may be overlooking your own needs. You need to take care of yourself, too.

What Is “Caregiver Burn Out”?

Burnout is normal and can take many forms — anger, frustration, exhaustion, and more. Be aware of these symptoms:                 

  • Feeling overwhelmed, alone or deserted by others
  • Sleeping too much — or too little
  • Gaining or losing lots of weight
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Losing interest in favorite activities
  • Becoming easily irritated or angered
  • Feeling worried or sad
  • Having frequent headaches or body aches

If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to have your health evaluated and to discuss your situation.

How to Cope

As you take care of your loved one, be sure to take care of yourself. You’ll be a better caregiver if you’re feeling well. Ease your stress by following these tips:

Learn about your loved one’s condition.

Knowing more about an illness or injury can boost your confidence and lower your stress level.

Seek local caregiving resources.

An adult daycare or other respite service can give you a much-needed break from your daily duties. Tell the doctor you’d like to meet with a Fidelity Health Care social worker who can help you find resources.

Ask for help.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family. And have a list of tasks ready so they can choose what they’d like to do — sit with mom, pick up groceries, or run an errand. Ask the doctor if you’re eligible for a home care aide.

Join a support group.

Talking with others who share similar challenges can help ease the isolation caregivers sometimes feel. You can swap stories and pick up tips to make caregiving easier.

Take time for yourself.

Don’t feel guilty. Relaxing with family and friends, having fun, and enjoying favorite activities will help you maintain emotional balance and be a better caregiver.

Stay healthy.

It’s easy to overlook your own health when caring for another. Exercise, eat a balanced diet and get plenty of rest. Don’t drink excessively or use drugs to cope with stress. And see your doctor for regular checkups and immunizations.

Get organized.

Make a to-do list and follow a daily routine. Be realistic about your priorities and goals.

Talk to your work supervisor.

Let your boss know about your caregiving responsibilities so she’ll know more about the challenges you may encounter. Research your company’s policy on caregivers — you may be able to access benefits or other helpful services. And ask about the Family and Medical Leave Act, which may allow up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave for family caregivers.

This article about caring for someone with cancer offers good self-care advice that you may find helpful whatever the specifics of your caretaking situation might be. If your loved one is dealing with diabetes, these caregiver tips can help.

Contact Us

We are here to help. To find out more, to speak with a Fidelity Health Care nurse, or to obtain home care supplies and medical equipment, call (937) 208-6400(937) 208-6400 or toll-free (800) 946-6344(800) 946-6344 or contact us online.