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Stress and caregiving

A young woman holds the hand of an older woman wrapped in a blanket and seated in a wheelchair.

When you're caring for someone else, it's easy to forget to take care of yourself. But it's every bit as important.

Taking care of a family member or friend can be very stressful. And in performing your caregiving duties, it's easy to forget to take care of yourself.

The Caregiver Action Network (CAN) and other experts say that to reduce stress, caregivers can:

Talk to a doctor. If you feel overwhelmed by your caregiving duties, seek professional advice.

Ask for help. When friends or family offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things they can do. If no one offers to help, take the initiative and ask them.

Educate yourself. Learn all you can about your friend's or family member's condition.

Be open to technology. Look for ideas that promote your loved one's independence.

Use community resources. Seek out other caregivers for support. Look into community care programs that might help you with your caregiving duties.

Reward yourself. Caregiving is a job and you need to take breaks. Take time to do something you enjoy.

Look after yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise regularly and eat nutritious meals.

For more on caregiving, visit CAN at Caregiver Action Network.

Reviewed 9/7/2023

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