Once you set up a care team it is important to use your time away from hands-on caregiving doing some form of self-care. This will look different for everyone because what makes you feel refreshed is different from what works for me.
Also the amount of self-care a person needs varies from person to person. For some caregivers having five minutes of self-care a few times a day gets them through the next hour or two, while for others larger blocks of time are necessary to feel relief from the stress of their caregiving duties.
Self-Care in Your Home
Having a “Peaceful Place” in your home where you can escape to breathe is a great form of self-care. This space can be a bathroom, a walk-in closet or your front porch. The location is not as important as what you put in it. Decorate this space with things that bring you happiness and peace.
- Pictures or paintings of the ocean, or a favorite trip or family
- A scent that reminds you of something happy
- A journal to write down how your feeling
Self-Care Outside Your Home
Support groups are a great source of self-care. Having a place to go where you can talk with other caregivers who understand your feelings and listen with a non-judgmental ear and offer words of encouragement.
- Your local Area Agency on Aging will have a list of support groups in your area
- Most disease-specific agencies have support groups (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS Associations)
- AARP has lists of support groups in your local area.
- On-line groups for those times when you need support but can’t leave your home.