Caring for the Caregiver: 25 Ways to Care for Yourself

It’s an understatement to say that caregivers have a lot on their plates: assisting with personal care, transportation to doctor’s appointments, food preparation, medication management…the list goes on.

Hence the irony: who needs more care than a caregiver?

We know it can be difficult to find the time for self-care, but it’s important to remember that your own wellness is still a priority. We also know caregivers may be too burned out to think of exactly what they need, so we asked our community for suggestions.

Here are 25 tips to help you truly practice self-care:

  • Let go of guilt
  • Join a caregiver support group
  • Stretch and breathe
  • Get some laughs
  • Talk to someone once a day
  • Get rest
  • Prioritize nutrition
  • Ask for help
  • Start a CaringBridge site
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no”
  • Ask for flexibility at work
  • Spend quality time with friends and family
  • Take time for spiritual practices/meditation
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Find time for exercise
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Listen to music
  • Treat yourself
  • Make time for your hobbies
  • Play with a furry friend
  • Read books
  • Create self-love mantras
  • Consider professional help
  • Don’t make self-care another “to-do”
  • Be kind to yourself

1. Let Go of Guilt

First of all: know that you are worthy of care, and you do not need to feel guilty or selfish for that. Let go of the notion that putting yourself first is wrong – you’re a human with needs, too.

“It might seem selfish to be a caregiver taking care of yourself first, but it was like what the flight attendants say: ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first.’ Then I was available to be a really supportive caregiver.”

Peter Bailey

2. Join a Caregiver Support Group

Without proper support, providing care can be lonely and isolating. Joining a group of people who share similar experiences can create a strong sense of community and help you feel less alone.

There are multiple types of support groups available – both online or in-person. CaringBridge users shared 9 caregiver support groups that they’ve found to be helpful.

“Cocktails and Chemo is a wonderful organization that helps with caregivers taking care of their loved one with cancer.”

Lori Elsbury

3. Stretch and Breathe

You don’t need to join a yoga studio to know the benefits of breathing and a good stretch. Try these stress relief breathing techniques to help you use your breath for healing.

“Stand facing out a window. Take deep breaths, slowly exhale. Then reach up to stretch, and then down to the floor. It’s a small thing that might be refreshing.”

Carol Havens

4. Get Some Laughs

Whether it’s calling your funniest friend or watching a favorite comedian, it’s important that you still get some regular chuckles.

Laughter can improve your immune system, relieve pain and improve mood.  It’s no wonder they call it the best medicine.

5. Talk to Someone Once a Day

Claire Schwab with friend.

You should talk to at least one person other than your care recipient every day – staying social is extremely important for your health.

Have a few people you can trust on speed dial to call whenever you need to vent, or be distracted by a topic other than caregiving.

6. Get Rest

Getting the recommended amount of zzz’s is important for everyone’s general health, and especially so for people like caregivers who are undergoing additional stress.

Here are a few quick tips to get more restful sleep:

  • Try to fall asleep and wake up at consistent times each day
  • Reduce daytime naps
  • Avoid intense movies or shows right before bed
  • Take a relaxing bath or shower
  • Avoid late meals or alcohol before bed

7. Prioritize Nutrition

When you’re busy taking care of someone, it can be easy to turn to fast foods, which are often packed with added sugar or trans fats. These foods may contribute to heartburn, depression/anxiety and a weakened immune system.

With the ongoing stress of caregiving, good nutrition becomes critical to maintain your health and well-being. Here are a few tips for healthier eating:

  • Eat several small meals per day. Five or six may be best.
  • Include protein, vegetables and healing fats (olive oil, butter, nuts, olives) at each meal and snack.
  • Limit consumption of coffee, soda and alcohol.
  • Drink eight to ten glasses of water per day.
  • Avoid processed sugar and carbohydrates. When you crave sugar, slice an apple and spread it with healthy peanut butter (no added sugar or fat).

Good nutrition is nourishing on many levels. Eating healthy will not only help you cope better in the short term, it may also protect you from future health problems.

8. Ask for Help

Caregiving takes a village – trying to do it alone will lead to burnout. As a caregiver, you can create a simple list, calendar or planner with a list of needs. Tell your community what you need and when. If this feels too forward, ask someone who cares about you to create one on your behalf. People truly want to help.

9. Start a CaringBridge Site

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health crisis. CaringBridge can help caregivers receive the help they need as easily as possible.

For example, our on-site Planner helps you coordinate care and organize needs like bringing meals, rides to doctor appointments or taking care of pets. CaringBridge also has a partnership with Shipt to make it easier for families going through health journeys to get much-needed help with groceries and everyday essentials. If this sounds like it could be helpful, start a free site today.

Don’t go through your health journey alone.

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely free of charge, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!

10. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

Caregivers often have a lot going on. Prioritize what’s most important, and empower yourself to say no to something that just doesn’t make the cut.

“I declined that extra invite, sidelined overstepping relatives, and skipped after-hours work events—so I could breathe and focus on what’s really important in life.”

CaringBridge staff member

11. Ask for Flexibility at Work

It can become difficult to balance your work commitments when the role of caregiver is added to your life. Caregiving itself can become its own full-time job.

Consider sitting down with your team and explaining the situation. Work together to see if there are any areas you can have more flexibility, whether it be remote work opportunities or a shifting of work hours.

12. Spend Quality Time with Friends and Family

There’s nothing better than spending face-to-face quality time with your favorite people. Surrounding yourself with the people who love you can provide healing and joy in a difficult time.

Most likely, your friends and family are willing to meet wherever is most convenient for you – don’t feel guilty about asking them to come your way.

“When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends.”

13. Take Time for Spiritual Practices/Meditation

Engaging in a particular spiritual practice or meditation is something you can do at any time to get a sense of peace. Meditation helps reduce anxiety and stress and can improve sleep . If you’re religious, you can find comfort in your community/church, and also request that your loved ones help you start a prayer chain.

14. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Even on the days where nothing is going right, there are still things to be grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can actually help you rewire your brain to be more positive, and also give you a record to look back to when you’re struggling to see the good.

Whether it’s a physical book or a gratitude app, try regularly writing in your journal to make gratitude a habit.

15. Find Time for Exercise

Exercising doesn’t have to mean spending hours at the gym – you can get a fun and effective workout at home, for free. There are many videos online that can help you with whatever kind of exercise you’re interested in, such as yoga, weight training or dance.

You can also include the person you’re caring for in these activities to enhance their health.

Keep in mind: A walk around the neighborhood still counts as exercise, and can be a great way to relieve stress.

16. Reduce Caffeine Intake

Too much caffeine can cause irritability, sleeplessness and anxiety, all of which caregivers don’t need.

Reducing your caffeine intake may help you feel calmer and less jittery. Try to decrease your consumption gradually by having smaller cups of coffee, trying decaf or switching to tea.

17. Listen to Music

Music is a free, enjoyable means to a happier life. The best part is, you can listen to it while doing pretty much anything – cleaning, driving or cooking.

Try this list of songs scientifically proven to reduce stress.

18. Treat Yourself

Caregivers work hard, and they deserve to reward themselves for their efforts.

Reward yourself by ordering in your favorite meal, buying a new outfit that makes you feel confident, or taking a long bubble bath. What you choose as your treat is entirely up to you – don’t feel pressured to conform to others’ ideas of pampering. Ask yourself: what sounds good right now?

19. Make Time for Your Hobbies

Your hobbies contribute to your happiness, and many aren’t time-consuming or costly.

Consider the activities you enjoy doing just for fun. Do you like gardening? Painting? Photography? Piano? Make a list of your favorite hobbies, and see which of them fit best into your lifestyle. Then, try to incorporate these interests into your daily or weekly routine.

20. Play with a Furry Friend

Animals – especially cats and dogs – can be an incredible support system during difficult times. If you already own a pet, take a few extra minutes to cuddle and play with them.

If you don’t own a pet,  you can ask a friend to bring theirs over for a visit, or take a day trip to the animal shelter. Just 10 minutes petting an animal can lower your stress levels.

21. Read Books

Reading can be very relaxing, and it can also be helpful to read books for caregivers that help you feel less alone in that role.

If you’re looking for something that’s not caregiving-related, this list of books you can’t put down may be helpful as well.

22. Create Self-Love Mantras

A mantra is a word or statement repeated frequently to help focus the mind on a positive message. For caregivers, having a mantra on hand can help to refocus the mind and find the strength to continue on with your day.

Here are a few ideas of mantras for caregivers:

  • I am worthy and deserving of love.
  • Today I choose to be positive.
  • I am a strong, good person.
  • I am doing the best that I can.

23. Consider Professional Help

If needed, professional help can be an option to help you get proper mental health care. This kind of care can be expensive, but there are options that work for any budget: sliding scale therapy, apps and local support groups can all be of service.

24. Don’t Make Self-Care Another “To-Do”

If certain aspects of self-care are truly not in your reach, skip them. Find a few things that work for you, instead of what others say you should do. Self-care should be something you look forward to and revel in, not dread.

25. Be Kind to Yourself

Lastly, please go easy on yourself. Take things one step at a time. Creating a self-care routine may be a trial and error process, so be patient and kind to yourself while you figure it out. The most important thing is that you simply start including yourself in the conversation of care.

We’d Love to Hear About Your Experiences

If you are or have ever been a caregiver, all of us at CaringBridge truly admire you. Now, here’s a chance for you to help others like you who may be struggling with self-care issues. Please share your ideas, insights and stories in the comments.

  • Marie Fe C.

    From full time to part time caregiver after I married d man I thought will be lifetime partner.. it wasn’t.. being a wife and his caregiver.. I was drained and finally discover him as “narcissist”.. as I reminisces and readback my journals.. all d sad experiences I encounter with him is not a joke.. physical, emotional, mental and financial.. ATM I’m trying to compose myself to make a better positive decisions..GOD will take care of all my burdens and patiently wait HIS ways..

  • Jean Rudy

    My husband has m ultiple problems, had tongue cancer surgery in February and then was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which is into the muscle, for which he is doing immuno therapy. He also has a lot of memory problems though not diagnosed yet with dementia and has central sleep apnea! Add to this Covid, for which given his problems we have been playing it safe. Rarely go out except to get groceries and go to the doctor appointments!
    His daughter lives about a half hour away but works and still has a teen at home. She will call every week or so and occasionally brings something for dinner, beyond that she is too busy to help. Most of our previous activities have been given up, seniors, players group and church, which we watch on computer.
    Biggest problem for hubby is diet, to not loose weight. he is a light eater to begin with and diabetic, plus since tongue surgery has textures he cannot eat. I think he has an eating disorder have to keep after him to eat enough to not loose weight.
    So that is the situation here, no other family in the area, and a lot of our friends have either moved or have passed away. I’m almost 80 and Hubby is 85!

  • Vivian Bumgarner

    What do you do when you do not have anyone else to help and cannot afford to hire anyone ?.

  • Janice Melville

    My husband was brain injured in a car accident 45 years ago. Thankfully God spared his life, but he has required 24 hours a day supervisory care since that time. The greatest advice I was given pertained to my own life. As a wife, I felt
    that I was the only one who could give my husband the care he needed. I’m sure many caregivers feel this way.
    It was pointed out to me, that if I exhausted myself, I was not able to provide the proper care for my husband, and was harming myself and my life. No truer words were ever spoken. I continued to teach special needs children, and had excellent care for my husband while I worked. I enjoyed time with my friends outside of work. It was a win win situation. It provided the financial support and free time I needed. I advised others who were feeling as I did, to continue working as well as doing the normal things they liked as much as possible. I have been blessed in so many ways with good friends, and most importantly, my faith. I have been on my knees many times praying for the strength I need from God. He has always provided it.

  • Diane Blaisdell

    I never thought in my life I would be going thru all this. I am 76 and taking care of my spouse for he had a stroke five years ago. I have a lot of health issues but don’t have time to think about them.
    I keep thinking to myself , when is it going to be my turn. I want someone to wait on me , to take care of me but I have no one. My daughter lives an hour away and can’t find time to come see me. I have migraines everyday because of all my stress. I can’t sleep until at lease two or three in the morning. This may seem dumb but the only thing that keeps me going right now is my new nine month old cat. I can hug , cry, talk to her. I feel my husband doesn’t want me around. He gets so upset with me when I don’t feel good. He is great full for nothing. But I feel I loved him for a reason and will do everything in my power to make him happy. I never realized the golden years would be so very hard. He keeps me running all day and I try to fit in housework also. He has two grown daughters come to visit but could care less what I do for him as long as they don’t have to. I guess I sound angry. I feel so burnt out but that doesn’t matter for you have to get up in the morning and do it all over again. I only want someone to think of me for a day. It’s so hard when there is nothing for any Holidays or any day. I have a hard time getting around myself because of my bladder problems, heart problems, interstitual cystitis, and asperguillis in my sinutitis. I have has six operations but they can’t fix it so I live with it. I would love to be able to learn to relax a little and enjoy my days. I do love life but just want someone to understand. The sun comes up tomorrow. I have a new hobby of Diamond painting now and that is helping me some. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining for everything happens for a reason. Thank you for this web site and letting me realize I am not the only one out there going thru this.

  • Lin

    I care for my 98 yr old mother soon to be 99…
    It is 7 siblings and 3 grandchildren she raised…
    Now, every one is to busy to help me with her.
    I have a caretaker that comes in but she is in bad health and I am expecting her to quit any day. I am so angry with my siblings because they want to VISIT when it’s convenient for them…when they VISIT they never do anything for her….I am going to stop the visits because it makes me feel unhappy, unappreciated and they do nothing….I expressed to them I need help….meant nothing to them….if or when she shall pass no siblings allowed at her funeral…..I am so tired!

  • Susan Davies

    I have a sewing room and a project always going where I can pop in and work on it. I have just had a friend come for a few days to sew and visit and eat out. It’s nice having a friend to talk to that you have a lot in common with.

  • Ira Asherman

    It is hard to disagree with any of the above, however they fail to reach one critical issue and that is finding a medical professional who views you as more then the person who brings your loved ones to appointments. It is not easy to find a doctor who can see beyond the medical condition and understands that you are also hurting. Most importantly they make time to talk with you about how you are doing and what is happening at home. Putting together a good medical team can help to reduce a great deal of our stress. For me a good medical team is not only good technically but have great deal of empathy and concern for the family as unit. Do not settle, this is likely to be along trip and you need all the help you can get.

  • Judy

    Whoever made this list has never been a full time caregiver. My sister “had to work” and since she lived hours away, this was her excuse for helping, even on a weekend. I did hire some help, which made it me possible to go to my house, 100 miles away and have the lawn mowed and make sure nothing had been destroyed, etc. I did manage to get an overnight’s sleep. Getting professional help? Give me a break. My father lived 65 miles away from a city with any medical professionals. I was also looking after my aunt, who was in a nursing home 35 miles away from me, who had Alzheimer’s Disease. She could no longer communicate, and I did well to see her every other week. The family never showed up. I watched her die, and my father take his last peaceful breath, by myself. It was probably best, so I didn’t have to deal with their drama.

  • Karen E Curtin

    I have been the only caregiver to my spouse for the past 13 years. He had multiple strokes that left him very cognitively impaired, memory impaired, with Parkinsons disease and legally blind. It’s so hard when even family members don’t understand what your daily life is like.

  • Jenni Ashford

    I really appreciate all of these suggestions! It’s so true; as a caregiver, one needs to take care of oneself to really be able to take care of someone else! It makes sense, right? As caregivers, we all need to remind ourselves of this and take those steps whenever possible.

    My husband has congestive heart failure and Stage 3 Kidney disease and is also completely immobile. So I move him from the bedroom to the family room (and back) via a miraculous unit, known as a Hoyer Lift. He has Hospice care here in our home. This means weekly help from a CNA with showers, twice a week. Also, an RN visits once each week to do “vitals” and discuss any issues. They are amazing and a huge help ~ but the rest of the work is up to me!

    So, I take time to talk to a friend each day, enjoy some quiet time in our hot tub which is so relaxing, play with our furry girl and listen to music. I also play our Baby Grande piano which I love and find so relaxing and therapeutic! I take a little time for myself and I feel so much better for it.
    Best wishes to all of you caregivers out there!🌺

  • Cathy E

    My mother is blind and when my stepfather died in 2014 I moved back home. Retiring early. Selling my home in Indiana to move to VA Beach and loosing the ability to see my friends worship at my home church if 30 years has been hard. I also have a sister with cognitive difficulties living in town. It is overwhelming managing appointments different bank accounts and 4 rental properties I was unprepared but know that families provide the majority of caregiving. Thanks fir a place to turn to

  • Karen E

    I really appreciate this website and the helpful tips. May God help us all.

  • Ruth Gardner Lamere

    This is a really excellent piece. I wish I had been able to read it when was caring for my 94 year old husband who had dementia, and other physical limitations, and died last year at the very beginning of the pandemic. At times I was really overwhelmed and exhausted, both physically and mentally. My husband refused to cooperate with outside help for things like bathing or dressing or toileting. It was a daily battle to try to help him do this by myself. This previously kind, intelligent, and cooperative man was, at times, very difficult. I hope that caregivers who are struggling, at present, can heed some of these excellent suggestions and ask for help. And be good, or at least better, to themselves.

  • -Emily Carter

    THANK YOU! Been helping my husband over 8 yrs with Alzheimers. Before that 6 years with 4 different cancers . But we both Love to Laugh and still try to attend church! 🙂 We both love music too and puzzles! Blessed with many friends and relatives that try to help out. 🙂 KEEP MOVING as long as you can!
    PS. We have 4 fur kids- 3 cats and dog that really help us along!:)

  • Verna

    Petting a pet effect on stress levels……
    I have a small rabbit that has quite a personality. After everyone goes to bed, I lay on the floor and pet the rabbit. He lowers his chin to the floor and turns his neck from side to side, so I can pet and massage his ears and nose. He closes his eyes. I think the act of petting helps me, but his trust in me and his enjoyment of what I am doing helps me a lot. I do a lot for my dementia ill husband, but he doesn’t realize it and isn’t able to appreciate it. The rabbit is an easy house pet to have. He uses a litter box inside his pen when he needs it. He has really been a support animal for me. Rabbits don’t like to be held or picked up usually, but petting him is great for both him and myself.

  • Dan Love

    Thanks for the comforting reminders of ideas for self-care. Very helpful, and comforting even to read about!

  • Deborah Stoots

    Can I print these twenty five basics for myself and two sisters. We have been caring for mom ten years and we need all the helpful suggestions. No support group close to help us

  • Bridget

    In my situation it pretty difficult to ask for any help . Ive been taking care of my mom for quite some time . (Years) and I am totally stressed, burnt out. And sadly to say I have been very sad.

  • Mary

    Hi My name is Mary it being 4 years that I’m taking care of mom and dad. My father has Alzheimer’s disease and my mother is bipolar and manic depressive and have other physical medical conditions like breast cancer, kidney disease stage 4, and other stuff. I love this article with all these situations I have learn to say No, and not feel guilty and look for help when I need it. And delegate in other family members

  • Jkirwin

    There is nothing easy about embracing life changing events. If your wise enough to be forward thinking and have the courage to make the critical decisions about care and financials early you will be glad you did. Every family should have how you would augment your life conversations and have a strategy. If you are coordinating care, navigating the health care system and or giving direct care you will know how to approach the challenges as they appear. Figure out what tools you will need. Research sources. Reach. Out to others who are in the same venue and find best options for availability and cost sharing. There are always people who have it worse than your situation . Practice gratitude. You will be surprised at how unexpected kindness materializes when you least expect them. You can do more than you think but set reasonable limits. There are only so many hours in a day and your just one person. Enjoy the small things that are big things which afford you comfort safety and sustainability. Keep moving your projects along. You wont get everything done in one day or one month. Keep a bullet journal. Reward yourself. You really are a champion.

  • Jeanna Moore

    A husband of 58.5 years who 3 years ago began his VA journey that was classified at 100% permanent disability Parkinson via Agent Orange due to almost 3 years in Vietnam. A life changer for sure. Pray and take one day at a time.

  • Elizabeth Maynard

    My husband and I have been loving, caring and managing the needs of our 27-year-old son who is medically fragile since his birth. This is a journey we never imagined. We have been blessed to find amazing caregivers and nurses help us across the years. It’s a ‘marathon’ that you find yourself in, not a sprint. The list you provided has great suggestions but the emotional and physical energy required every day of an overwhelmed and exhausted caregiver make many of those ideas feel very out of reach. Focus on just a few…. What we have learned is to take one day at a time; prioritize sleep, lean into gratitude to God who gives strength in our weakness and ask Him to walk with you. It’s amazing and comforting to know you are not alone and He is with you. Sing or play music because it lifts everyone’s mood, not just the caregiver’s. Laughter is such good medicine!! Find a professional counselor so you are not unknowingly burdening family in every conversation. A counselor can offer a space to vent, cry and talk along with suggestions you may not have considered. An empathetic ear goes a long way in managing your life of serving those you love. Blessings and strength to all!! ❤️❤️❤️


    All are good suggestions, but some are difficult to implement. #2 – Caregivers support group – never appealed to me. I felt it would be one more obligation on my calendar, just to sit in a group of strangers and rehash how difficult life is. #6 – Rest – difficult to rest well when your loved one needs medication every 2 hours.

  • Renee Harris Patterson

    My husband died 10/9/19. 2 years + with cancer and I was so very exhausted. This is a great list even today for me as I am still recovering from care giving. Thank you for this list. It’s empowering.

  • Norma Colby

    Thank you. These are such great suggestions!!!
    Norma Colby

  • Glenna Hale

    My husband was diagnosed with a glioblastoma July, 2016 and has had 2 brain surgeries. He was given 1 year to live and is still a moderately functioning poster adult of success. Hes now 63 yo and cannot work due to cognitive issues, ie cant read, write, do math, decreased short term and long term memory, etc. I quit my job 2 yrs ago to stay home and assist with his quality of life. Lots of ups and downs every single day. I make sure I set aside time for exercise and friends, as well as hobbies. These things make me a better caregiver/wife.
    When negative things happen, I concentrate on the positive and move forward.

  • Lori Orders

    I was able to be out of town with some of my closest friends . My husband was diagnosed with early onset Alheizmers last January. It is hard. I cherish each day , I cherish those who’s listen when they can . My husband is 54 please keep us in your prayers please

  • Nancy B.

    This was a good read! Passing it on to my mom now.

  • Dale j

    I am still a care giver even after Shirley passing away almost 4 years ago. I can’t let go yet.

  • Karen Wasel

    Great information to have, being a caregiver we lose sight of things that we need to make it through each day. I am a caregiver to my husband. I lost my first husband to this crappy disease, do not want to lose another!! Stay strong everyone!

  • Anne Traylor

    Thank you for sharing these helpful ideas.They will be a source of strength in times ahead.

  • M. Webster

    Thanks for this article. I am a wife and caregiver for my husband. Have used some of the listed tips without realizing they were assisting me.

  • L. Dionne

    Refreshing article and glad CB is doing a bit more outside the ‘patient box’. CB was one of the first things we did and the best thing on the list! Relieved a whole lot of stress trying to keep everyone informed without going through the same update over and over.

  • Pete Warshaw

    I’ve employed almost all of these very helpful actions over the years, to everyone’s benefit. Some additional comments regarding #8. Ask for Help: We have been fortunate to have wonderful friends and neighbors who are happy to help out even on short notice. This makes it easy to ask for something specific — a drive to an appointment, letting the dogs out, bringing in the trash cans, etc. We’ve received feedback that folks are grateful for specific “asks” since they would like to help out but would not otherwise know what we needed. In turn, this has modeled how some have responded when they find themselves in a caregiver role.

    A second comment: You never know who will come through for you and who won’t. We’ve been surprised both ways. There is the neighbor who offered to help but left us hanging. And the neighbor we hardly knew who came to the house every day to walk our dog. You never know if you don’t ask.

  • Shirley M Smith

    I care for my husband of 55 years.He has many , many
    health problems due to Agent Orange , Each day is another page in a book. Constant Pain, deep depression, won’t
    Eat. Sugar lows are a constant thing. Not able to do one
    Thing for himself. Always me. I struggle with this!!
    It is very hard to take time for myself. I pray all time
    For strength, understanding, and patience.

  • Elaine Richardson

    Do you have a printer-friendly version of this article? I’d love to print copies and share with patients and their caregivers at the Cancer Center where I am a social worker. I think these are great tips and I also think this would be a great way for me to share info about Caring Bridge.

  • Margaret Carey

    This is a concise but really helpful article. I wish I had read it years ago.
    It us so eady to get trapped in a downward spiral and not know where it has all gone wrong and you have ended up fluctuating between living and existing.
    I read this today and suddenly I realised the things I have not done for a very long time….
    So that is GOOD….thank you. I have something I can change in a positive way so I dont feel so heart weary any more.

  • Laura Stolicki

    What a terrific article – I’m going to print it and give it to my caregivers: my husband, my 18 year old son, and my mom. They share in my care (I have stage IV pancreatic cancer). My husband postpones his health care appointments to take me for immunotherapy and this article landed in my in box at a perfect time for me to have this important conversation with him.

  • Karen Mellott

    Do you have a printer-friendly version of this article? I’d love to print copies and share with patients and their caregivers at the Cancer Center where I am a social worker. I think these are great tips and I also think this would be a great way for me to share info about Caring Bridge.

  • Sedahlia Jasper Crase

    Thank you for this brief but excellent article. I read these kinds of things a lot since my spouse died, but every time I see these kinds of materials, I believe it just a little bit more, helping me to arrive at a place that is without guilt with the capability to focus on myself after so long focusing on the other. It is a difficult transition, even a year out from his death. Blessings on all of you. Sedahlia Jasper Crase, Ames, IA USA

  • Susan D. Gorman, M.A., SEP, NICABM Practitioner

    Hello, friends! I have been a caretaker for two plus years since my husband, John, was diagnosed with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type at Mayo Clinic in September of 2017. I did not believe the diagnosis. There were too many variables. We were given an RX for Aracept and not invited to come back.

    Our wonderful internist from India said to my attorney/judge husband: “You are still Judge John Gorman, and you are bigger than this disease.” I took his words to heart even though my husband had already seemed to have given up Hope.

    So, for the past two years, I have looked “high and low” for the best resources for my husband. We spent three days at the Daniel Amen, M.D. Chicago Clinic in Bannockburn IL where both John and I had full brainnspects which did not show Alzheimer’s in my husband’s spects.

    He does have severe sleep apnea and has not been able to tolerate the CPAP or the dental appliance and is not a candidate for surgery.

    So, I had tried to get help for my husband for two years and came up empty-handed. I needed the respite, and he had no interest in having a companion.

    So, I finally missed a step at a concert three plus weeks ago and fractured my left leg in three places at the ankle, heel, and one bone under the 5th metatarsal. I called Home Instead to hire help for myself and have had it for 3 plus weeks six days a week with seven-hour shifts.

    It is a Godsend. I am in a wheel chair for at least ten more days and then a boot when I will be mobile again, thankfully.

    My husband has benefited from the social interaction, as I have needed the help. I am a writer who started a book in 2005 about resources for adults who are childhood developmental trauma survivors which I am.

    Now, my focus has changed to this present day chapter in our lives which has taken a toll on me. My goal is to share my experiences of staying positive and resilient and creative with a huge dose of laughter each and every day.

    Laughter is our best tool in dealing with this elusive, baffling, confusing disease of memory issues.

    I just finished a very helpful book today called: “Ambiguous Loss – Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief,” by Pauline Boss. This book gave me affirmation for all of the resources I have found for my husband and also the freedom to let go knowing that I
    have done everything possible and must now put this whole situation into the hands of God.

    I do keep hope in my heart and cling to Hope each and every day as we deal with the losses of memory.

    The Serenity Prayer helps us each day to accept the things we cannot change, to have courage to change the things we can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.