Caring for a family member or friend who has a
disability or a chronic illness can be rewarding. But it's also demanding. One
of the keys to being a successful caregiver is to manage stress by seeking
support and taking care of yourself. Managing stress is especially important for a caregiver, because stress can weaken his or her immune system. A weak immune system makes the caregiver more likely to get sick.
Think about the kinds of
caregiving tasks or situations that trigger stress for you. Then you can focus
on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress. Here
are some ideas:
Depression is common among caregivers. It's emotionally
draining to care for a loved one whose health is getting worse. Don't dismiss
your feelings as "just stress." If you're having trouble coping with your
feelings, it may help to talk with a counselor. If you have symptoms of
depression, such as a lack of interest in things you enjoy, a lack of energy,
or trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor.
May 3, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
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