Caregivers need to recognize their limits

While family caregiving can be rewarding, it can make life more stressful for those providing the care.

This type of stress affects women more then men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Women caregivers tend to offer more assistance, such as managing physical needs.

Three out of four caregivers, men and women, report feeling strained emotionally, physically or financially, according to the department.

The stress involved can be worse for caregivers of the elderly, as it is hard to watch a parent lose cognitive abilities.

It’s not unusual for caregivers to develop health problems of their own.

Part of the reason is that they are less likely to take good care of themselves due to time and money constraints imposed by caregiving.

Caregivers may not have the time for regular checkups, may not fill a prescription due to cost, miss sleep or forget to eat healthy meals.

It’s very important for caregivers to recognize their own limits.

Here are a few tips to help:

• Find out about caregiving resources in your community.

• Don’t do it alone. Ask for and accept help. Don’t be afraid to ask family members to do their share.

• Simplify your life and reduce other sources of stress. Make “to-do” lists.

• Stay in touch with family and friends.

• Join a support group.

• Make time to get away and have fun.

• Consider home-care supportive services.

A home-care professional can coordinate a patient’s plan of care under the direction of his or her doctor. A wide range of treatments and procedures that once were performed in a hospital can now be delivered at home.

Trained clinicians teach individuals and their families self-management for chronic conditions or help with recovery from an illness or injury.