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Taking Care of Yourself

Caregivers experience a terrible time planning for their own needs. As the symptoms of their loved ones' illness become more pronounced and more demands made on their time, caregivers often neglect social relationships, physical and emotional health. This experience can produce depression, anger, guilt, isolation, and physical illness. Moreover friends and families may expect this degree of self-sacrifice as a part of the marriage vows or their perception of familial obligations.

You must be your own advocate in meeting your needs. This is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to take care of your loved one.

Some suggestions:

A. Eat right - make sure you get a balanced diet
B. Get adequate rest
C. Drink plenty of fluids
D. Exercise at least 3 times a week
E. Make sure you get annual health screenings
F. Get flu and pneumonia vaccinations
G. Get out with friends and by yourself regularly
H. Make sure you have some time alone each day
I. Attend support groups and keep in touch with professionals

Expect family conflict during this time. Most families argue to create enough energy to cope. Each member will go through stages of grief - at their own pace. Try to keep the arguments fair and seek help from a family therapist if needed.

Supported by: Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation,
National Caregiving Training Project,
University of Iowa College of Nursing,
Gerontology Nursing Intervention Center
Research Development and intervention Core

Developed by: Geri R. Hall, Ph.D., ARNP, CNS
Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale
13400 E. Shea Boulvard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259
Phone: 602-301-8111


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