Caregiver stress: how do I cope?

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My husband’s dementia is getting worse, and it’s becoming more difficult to care for him by myself. My friends offer to help but I don’t want to burden them with my responsibility. I don’t know how much more I can handle. What should I do?

Caregivers face a huge toll on their physical and emotional health and often feel that they cannot seek help for themselves or don’t know where to turn for help.

Taking care of a loved one in addition to tending to other aspects of your life is putting you under significant stress. Ensuring that you are both physically and mentally well will not only assist you in maintaining your quality of life, but will also help you be a more effective caregiver. Burnout is a very real danger for people in your situation so it is important to seek help both from friends and family and from formal health care services.

Some great tips for decreasing the strain of caring for your husband:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Find out about community and caregiver resources
  • Keep in touch with friends and family
  • Try to make time to exercise – you’ll feel so much better!
  • Join a caregiver support group
  • Try to get enough sleep
  • Establish a daily routine
  • Consider respite care to give yourself some time off
  • Consider home care which may be funded for you – having another person to assist you will take some of the burden off yourself
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