Caring for a family member or friend who has a disability or a chronic illness can be rewarding. But it's also demanding. One of the keys to being a successful caregiver is to manage stress by seeking support and taking care of yourself. Managing stress is especially important for a caregiver, because stress can weaken his or her immune system. A weak immune system makes the caregiver more likely to get sick.
Think about the kinds of caregiving tasks or situations that trigger stress for you. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress. Here are some ideas:
Depression is common among caregivers. It's emotionally draining to care for a loved one whose health is getting worse. Don't dismiss your feelings as "just stress." If you're having trouble coping with your feelings, it may help to talk with a counselor. If you have symptoms of depression, such as a lack of interest in things you enjoy, a lack of energy, or trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry|
|Last Revised||May 3, 2013|
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