Tips for Caring for a Loved One Long Term

man resting on sofa

For most caregivers, caring for another person feels good, especially if it’s your loved one. But the demands of caregiving can also cause emotional and physical stress. For many, it can even lead to burnout, especially if this responsibility is long term.

The advice is simple: It’s critical you maintain optimal health. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t care for your loved one. But prioritizing your health most often takes a backseat. To help you regain your footing, we have a few suggestions.

Enhance your endurance and mood.

  • Learn everything you can about stroke. Knowledge is empowering.
  • Set boundaries; say no when it’s appropriate.
  • Don’t dwell on what you can’t change.
  • Limit caffeine.
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Find a support system.
  • Share your feelings with someone who wants to listen or understands what you are feeling.
  • Focus on things you’re grateful for each day.
  • Invest in your spiritual life.
  • Recognize you are trying your best.
  • Make time for friends.
  • Participate in activities you enjoy.

Overcome stress and depression.

Physical and psychological stress is an inevitable part of caregiving. How you manage it impacts your well-being. To combat stress:

  • Set your priorities.
  • Identify and maintain a routine that works best for your situation.
  • Modify your expectations and don’t try to do it all.

Depression is also common during the caregiving journey, especially if you feel hopeless and helpless.

  • Acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself to grieve the losses related to stroke.
  • Accept — and get help for — the new responsibilities thrust upon you.
  • Consider the strengths you and your loved ones have together. Remember, you’re angry with the situation, not your loved one.

In short, first take care of you … before you take care of your loved one.