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Home > Caregiver Care > Checklists > Ten Important Ways to Take Care of Yourself

Caregiver Checklist

Ten important ways to take care of yourself:

  • Schedule in time for yourself.
    Make sure you spend time doing something you enjoy everyday.
  • Get plenty of ZZZZZs.
    Get as close as you can to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. It will make all the difference.
  • Break a sweat.
    Exercise! Walk, stretch, pump some iron, swim, ride a bike…it doesn’t matter so much what you do, just, you know, do it.
  • Stay in touch with your feelings.
    You’re liable to feel a lot of conflicting emotions. Check in with yourself and stay aware of any drastic changes in mood and energy. Know thyself and know when it’s time to take a break or talk to a therapist.
  • Keep a journal.
    Writing can be extremely therapeutic. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, journaling can help you vent frustration, keep track of your activities as well as your feelings, discover dreams, set goals, you name it.
  • Find a support group.
    Join our online discussion groups to chat with people who get it. For face- to-face support, check with your area’s agency on aging, senior center, or health agencies to find a caregiver group that meets locally.
  • Keep up on your own doctor appointments.
    Caregivers often neglect their own health. Who wants to spend precious free time back at the doctor’s office when you’re already there so often with your parents? You do…because you know how important it is to take care of yourself.
  • Respect your need for Respite.
    If you’re the primary caregiver for your aging parent or loved one, you’ll need regularly scheduled respite – both short breaks and longer vacations. If finances won’t allow hiring help, call on family members or friends, volunteer organizations, or consider trading off with another trusted caregiver.
  • Pull in the family.
    Keep family members involved through regular meetings (these can be phone conferences for long distance relatives) so you’re not trying to do it all on your own.
  • Consider hiring help.
    If you can, consider a professional home health aide. Or hire someone to help with a specific chore, such as cleaning or shopping.