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Are you currently caring for someone you love who is living with memory impairment? Whether your loved one has just been diagnosed or you’ve been a caregiver for years, there are likely times you will feel overwhelmed, isolated, frustrated, or simply exhausted. Making time to take care of yourself is not selfish – in fact, it’s the best way to keep yourself healthy so you can continue to provide the best care for your loved one.  Here are some steps to help you along the way and ensure you don’t get burned out in the process.

To connect with a professional, call Lifespan’s Finger Lakes Caregiver Institute at 1-844-249-7126.

Self-care for caregivers:

    1. Talk with a care manager about developing a plan to get a break, as soon as possible, and, ideally, before you need it.

    2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to do this alone - assess your current situation and recognize you may need some help with caregiving.

    3. Do your best to maintain your quality of life by getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting exercise. Being healthy and well-rested will help you better care for your loved one.

    4. Accept help and delegate tasks to those who offer their assistance with things like preparing meals, housework, or offering to handle an errand or two.

    5. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member to talk about your frustrations, anger, or worries.

    6. Set aside time in your schedule for self-care without guilt. Whether it’s a hair or medical appointment, or an hour or two to enjoy time with a grandchild or a good book, it’s not self-indulgent – it’s a necessity.

    7. Educate yourself about your loved one’s illness and set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and your loved one.

    8. Try to maintain a sense of humor and positive outlook despite the many negative feelings you might be experiencing. Make time for joy and laughter with others.

    9. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help or supportive services if things become too overwhelming or you are at risk for depression.

    10. Sometimes your loved one might say hurtful things as a result of their illness. Try not to take things personally and acknowledge you are doing your best.

It’s never too early to find out more about caregiver respite options available to you.

Contact Lifespan’s Finger Lakes Caregiver Institute at 1-844-249-7126 for more information.

Links to additional resources

Caregiver Consultation, Eldersource

Caregiver Resource Center, AARP

Care Navigation and Planning, Lifespan

Powerful Tools for Caregivers Sessions

Respite Care, Alzheimer’s Association

Caregiver Center, Alzheimer’s Association

Taking Care of You, Family Caregiver Alliance