Banner: Life with IPF

Take care of yourself!

Many caregivers become exhausted and overwhelmed by trying to manage caregiving responsibilities with their everyday and working life.1 Often caregivers pay so much attention to the needs of their loved ones that they don’t recognize their own discomforts like stress, illness, sleep deprivation, anger and depression. For this reason, caregivers often report more problems with psychological health and physical well-being than non-caregivers.2,3

But, being a good caregiver means taking care of your own mental and physical health first.

Make sure you are up to taking care of someone else and take time for yourself, even if it is only a few minutes every day.

Here are some tips to put yourself on your priority list:

  • Caring for a seriously ill person is hard work! Reward yourself with breaks and take time to relax daily.1
  • Stay social and do things you enjoy, like visiting other people, riding a bicycle, reading a book, going for a walk, or anything else you like to do.
  • Pay attention to your physical needs! Regular exercises, a healthy diet and adequate sleep let you cope with stress more effectively.1
  • Remember your own health and visit your doctor regularly. As a caregiver, you need to stay as strong and healthy as possible.
  • Give yourself credit! Keep in mind that the care you provide does make a difference and that you are doing the best you can.
  • Seek the support of family, friends and community resources and accept offers of help.
  • You are not alone! Talk with other caregivers who know what you are going through and find caregiver support groups in your area.1
  • Don’t ignore your symptoms! Watch out for any signs of exhaustion, stress, sleeplessness or depression, and get professional help if needed.

If you feel like things get out of control and you can’t provide enough care anymore, talk to your loved one and to other family members. In some cases, a nursing home or assisted living facility may be the best option for all of you.

Patient guide

Patient guide: Caring for your loved one

Backgrounder

Backgrounder: Family & Caregivers

References

  1. Belkin A., et al. A qualitative study of informal caregivers’ perspectives on the effects of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. BMJ Open Respir Res 2014;1:e000007.
  2. Roth DL., et al. Family caregiving and emotional strain: associations with quality of life in a large national sample of middle-aged and older adults. Qual Life Res Int J Qual Life Asp Treat Care Rehabil 2009;18:679–688.
  3. Pinquart M., et al. Differences between caregivers and noncaregivers in psychological health and physical health: a meta-analysis. Psychol Aging 2003;18:250–267.

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