10 TIPS TO TAKE CARE OF THE CAREGIVER · Parkinson's Resource Organization




By Mary Slayton Richards

Taking care of someone else is hard work. Unless you get help, you’re on 24/7- Even nurses work in shifts. It’s critical you take care of yourself to allow you to continue caring for your loved one. If something happens to you, who will care for your loved one? Some self-care tips include:

  1. Sleep and rest as much as you can. Take a nap during the day if possible, keep a consistent wake and bedtime. Avoid caffeine after 2:00 PM so as not to disturb quality of sleep. 

  2. Drink lots of water. Make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated!

  3. Eat healthy meals and snacks regularly. It’s tempting to grab whatever is easy like cookies or other prepared snacks. Think of yourself as an athlete in training. Have healthy snacks and foods on hand.

  4. Get fresh air and exercise. Get outside for a walk or sit and read for a quick mood boost.

  5. Ask for and accept help. Schedule relief caregivers and do something kind and restful for yourself, even if it’s just a few hours a week. If someone offers help, accept it! They are giving you the gift of a helping hand while you are giving them the gift of feeling good for helping a friend.

  6. Find a support group and have a support network in place. You are not on this journey alone. Many support groups allow caregiver and persons with Parkinson’s to attend meetings together. Social interaction is important for both of you. Have a list of friends you can call when you’re feeling a little low. They will feel blessed to hear from you.

  7. Release stress, grief, and sadness. Talk with a trusted friend, pray, meditate, start a gratitude journal, go to a support group, watch a funny video on YouTube. Remind yourself often, this is temporary and will not last forever. 

  8. Celebrate Your Wins. Acknowledge what you did get done versus focusing on what you didn’t. Something as simple as getting up or to bed on time, drinking enough water. Journaling is a simple way to list what you did accomplish each day. Speak kindly to yourself, release feelings of guilt when you lose your patience or have an off day. A good guide: would I talk this way to my 5-year-old self? Forgive yourself for not being perfect.

  9. Use services such as grocery pick-up or on-line shopping to save time. Many stores offer free services where you can place your order on-line for store pick-up. Have as many items delivered to your house as possible-perfect for household goods like toilet paper, paper towels and pet supplies.

  10. Honor your health care schedule. Stay on track with dental, doctor, hair appointments. Show yourself the same level of care and love by maintaining your wellness visits.

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Updated: August 16, 2017