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Stay Healthy While Tending To Another

If you are the primary person who assists a family member or friend who is elderly, chronically ill or disabled, you’re among the tens of millions of adults in the U.S. who are also in that role. The patients include individuals suffering from aplastic anemia. The stress from having to constantly provide attention to someone can result in caregiver burnout. Here are some indications of this condition.

  • overwhelming fatigue

  • sleeping too much or too little

  • significant weight loss or gain

  • feeling hopeless

  • withdrawing from activities you once enjoyed

  • neglecting your own physical and emotional needs

  • feeling like caretaking is controlling your life

  • becoming unusually impatient, irritable or argumentative with the person for whom you’re caring

  • difficulty coping with everyday things

Protect yourself from burning the candle at both ends by taking this advice.

  • Ask for help; no one can do it alone.

  • Give yourself “permission” to take breaks and care for yourself.

  • Get up 15 minutes earlier and use the time just for you. Sit with your coffee or tea and enjoy it. Journal about your struggles and feelings. Meditate, pray, stretch. Do whatever you want to do. 

  • Make a list of your daily activities and tasks. Can you delegate any of them? Perhaps your spouse can prepare dinner once or twice or a week. Maybe a friend or relative can run errands or help with laundry. People often want to help; take them up on it!

  • Check into family-leave benefits from your workplace.

  • If your loved one is receiving hospice care, ask your hospice provider about local support groups. Communicating with others who are in your situation is a big help, as is opening up and sharing your frustrations.

  • If you can take a brief getaway, consider hospice-respite care for your loved one. Your hospice program should offer short-term inpatient admission (more than 24 hours and up to five days and nights maximum) for your loved one, which will relieve you as a caretaker.

There is support, there are shortcuts, and there are strategies for reorganizing your priorities to make you a happier person and a better caregiver.

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