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TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF IS ESSENTIAL To guard against becoming physically and emotionally drained, you must take care of yourself. You need to maintain your health and develop ways to cope with your situation. This publication includes many ideas to help you identify ways to help you take care of yourself as you fulfill this important role.

CAREGIVER STRESS TEST Rating your responses to the following questions will help you become aware of your feelings, pressures, and stress you are currently experiencing. Choose the rating that most accurately describes your current situation. Seldom– Sometimes – Often – Usually True – Always True

o I find I can't get enough rest. o I don't have enough time for myself. o I don't have time to be with other family members beside the person I care for.

o I feel guilty about my situation. o I don't get out much anymore. o I have conflict with the person I care for. o I have conflicts with other family members. o I cry every day. o I worry about having enough money to make ends meet. o I don't feel I have enough knowledge or experience to give care as well as I'd like. o My own health is not good.

If the response to one or more of these areas is “usually true” or “often true” it may be time to begin looking for help with caring for the carereceiver and help in taking care of yourself.

CAREGIVER BURNOUT Even when we identify stressors and do some things to reduce the stress we still can have burnout. Once you burn out, caregiving is no longer a healthy option for either you or the person you’re caring for. So it’s important to watch for the warning signs of caregiver burnout and take action right away when you recognize the problem. Common warning signs of caregiver burnout: You have much less energy than you used to. It seems like you catch every cold or flu that’s going around. You’re constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking a break. You neglect your own needs, either because you’re too busy or you don’t care anymore.

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