If you are the primary caregiver to an individual with severe medical needs, it is important to take care of yourself so you can be of help to your loved one.

It can be very stressful having the care and comfort of a loved one fall completely on a family member’s shoulders. Many caregivers are so focused on giving and helping that ultimately they put their own needs last.  This adds to the stress of their daily life. If their own self-care is not managed, it could mean serious health risks.

Most caregivers don’t get the required sleep they need, skip meals, develop poor eating habits, stop exercising and don’t make or keep health related appointments. They also report not taking care of themselves when they do become ill. This can be very dangerous for the caregiver, but also to the patient who relies on the health and vitality of their caregiver.

Learning ways to relieve stress, getting proper rest and nutrition and exercising are going to keep a caregiver feeling healthy and ready to face the day.  Also, a caregiver needs to take guilt-free time off. Being involved in activities they love and feeling fulfilled in other areas of their life, is going to make a huge difference, emotionally. The caregiver needs to accept help from others and seek counseling if they begin to feel overwhelmed and cannot manage.

Managing the medical needs and all the necessary medical supplies of a loved one with a chronic illness or debilitating injury is a full time job, no doubt but it also requires that the caregiver be rested, healthy and mindful of their own needs.