Caring for the Caregiver

Though it may seem to be a contradiction, caring for yourself during the time that you are caring for another is one of the most important things you can do – for both your loved one and for yourself.  Fortunately, there’s guidance and support to help us care for others and not neglect ourselves in the process.


Six Essential Tips for Caregiving:

1. Keep your own medical records.  It is likely that you will be making many trips to multiple doctors’ offices during your time as a caregiver.  It’s crucial to keep all documentation organized and easily accessible.  Consider bringing your own computer or taking your own notes to keep a record of what you discussed with the doctors.

2. Take time for yourself.  If you can take a break, take full advantage
of it.  It’s crucial for caregivers to step away every once and awhile to have some time for themselves in order to avoid burnout.

3. Focus on one person at a time.  When you’re caring for someone, try to avoid dwelling on other concerns and focus on the person who needs you the most at that time.

4. Accept today’s realities.  It’s hard to think about your family member or loved one back when they were younger and healthier.  Aim for providing happiness and comfort in your role, and avoid hanging on to the past.

5. Know when to ask for help.  Have a support network of family and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  More and more people are becoming caregivers, and more people are needed care each day.
It’s likely that someone else will understand what you’re going through.  

6. Take care of the legal issues.  Discuss financial and power of attorney
questions with a lawyer or qualified third party. 

As a caregiver, you need both information and support. For more information about this topic, look for A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness by Susan Milstrey Wells. For ongoing support, consider Today’s Caregiver Magazine or look for local support at

SMU’s Employee Relations Program (EAP), Magellan Health, has resources and experience to help you with more information. Visit or call 1-877-704-5696 for more information, referrals and support.

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About Lorea Seidel

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