Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

How to keep yourself healthy when caring for a loved one

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- Posted on Mar 1, 2006

The illness of one spouse, especially with a chronic disease, can be almost as hard on the partner.

In fact, a major illness will inevitably affect the entire family. Playing the role of caregiver while maintaining your relationship is a challenge. Stress, guilt, fear and financial worries can take a terrible toll.

The best advice? Talk to others in your situation. You need support.

Creating day-to-day routines will help you manage your time. Hiring a home health aid can also help ease your workload and take some stress off your ill spouse too. 

While you're focusing on your spouse's recovery, don't ignore your own needs. If you're blaming your spouse, losing touch with friends and family or ignoring your own health, look for help.

Check your local newspaper for caregiver support groups and illness-specific discussions. Remember, to care for an ailing spouse effectively and lovingly, you have to first care for yourself.  

Read the story of a husband who cared for his wife during a long illness in Sign of a Cure.

For more information about support for caregivers, visit the Well Spouse Association at wellspouse.org or call (800) 838-0879.

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