Care for the Caregiver: Staying Healthy

Putting care for the caregiver at the top of the list of priorities is a much studied topic. When a caregiver stays healthy, the family member is more likely to be well cared for – simple logic, but not as easy as it seems.

Caregivers deal with stress, which can cause a myriad of health problems.

Caregivers had a 23 percent higher level of stress hormones and a 15 percent lower level of antibody responses than non-caregivers. Over time, elevated stress hormones can lead to high blood pressure and glucose levels, increasing the risk of hypertension and diabetes. Poorer immune response can make people more vulnerable to infections such as the flu, even after a flu shot. – Source – American Psychological Association

Being a caregiver means long hours. When you have a family and/or job of your own, there is less time to care for the caregiver. I fit this sandwich generation category. I am married, have a teen daughter with her own health issues and an adult daughter who is pregnant. And I have chronic illnesses.

Caring for the Caregiver Quote

With chronic illness, I am more likely to be sick and stay sick for a long time. I must take my healthcare seriously. The main way to do this is with preventative care. Keeping doctor appointments, getting health screenings on time and taking my medications is my way to stay as healthy as possible.

Eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, and pampering myself all help on my road to staying healthy. On my calendar, I set aside time for my health care needs and my “me time”. Staying educated on caregiver tips is essential.  Care for the caregiver is the difference between my ability to be there fully mentally and physically for my mother or to not be there at all.

How do you stay healthy as a caregiver?

I am part of AARP’s kitchen cabinet on caregiving.  This is a series of posts on the topic of caregiving. This post and my social media involvement is compensated, but all opinions are my own.

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. My mother and I were my father’s caregivers. I actually didn’t even know that we were considered that until the last year or so (it never occurred to me that there were other people out there taking care of someone). That being said, I fully agree that it’s important for the caregiver(s) to stay healthy, but it’s also hard. My mother and I kept up with our own health by getting regular check-ups… It’s a good thing I did because we discovered my accelerated heart rate during a routine checkup for my blood pressure.
    Lindsay wrote this fabulous post..Grieving the Loss of my Father: It’s Still Hard SometimesMy Profile

    • That’s an important topic that you brought up, Lindsay. A lot of women don’t consider themselves caregivers and don’t take care of themselves or even ask for help. I know that your Dad appreciated everything that you did for him.

  2. Very important information for all caregiveres out there.
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  3. It is important to remember to taake care of ourselves as we care for others.
    Pam Brown Margolis wrote this fabulous post..The Genius of Little Things by Larry BuhlMy Profile

  4. Such good points about staying healthy.
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  5. Connie, we as Caregivers cannot be reminded enough to care for ourselves in order to care for others. I am my Mom’s sole Caregiver, and although I am very vigilant about exercising, eating right and reducing stress in my life… things like a recent accident with my foot and a heavy telescope and a Lyme Disease diagnosis threw me for a loop. I am sidelined from exercising and the heavy Lyme meds are taking their toll, but my Mom still needs me and my care. It’s a stark reminder of that bit of research by the American Psychological Association. Caregivers must stay healthy for when WE have setbacks… to make the setbacks as short as possible. It’s quite the challenge. Thanks for another important post…