You are not alone.
Being a caregiver can be stressful. It is common for caregivers to experience feelings of stress, exhaustion, anger, guilt, grief, and other difficult emotions. If you are a caregiver, it is important to seek support or counseling.
When you attend to the needs of others, it is easy to forget about your own health and wellness. Studies show those responsible for the long-term care of relatives show higher rates of illness, suppressed immune response, slower healing, and even increased mortality. In order to give care, you need stress relief, support, and time for yourself and your family.
- Protect your own health. Boost your resistance by eating well, getting enough rest and exercise, and pursuing activities that bring you pleasure.
- Practice self-care. Make time for yourself and your needs. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, it is vital.
- Combat caregiver stress. Relaxation response techniques and self-nurturing techniques will enable you to feel calmer, happier, and better able to help others.
- Make time for relationships. Nearly all caregivers and their partners feel more stress than usual in their relationship. You can still be close as a couple in spite of dealing with medical issues. Staying close is also about sharing feelings and understanding
- Accept help. If no one offers help, ask for it. When someone offers help, accept it. Sometimes it is hard to ask or accept these types of offers of help, but it is important to do. In many ways, by accepting this incredible personal gift, you are helping the giver.
- Find support. Join a support group to talk out frustrations with other people in your situation and to get helpful ideas. Some caregiver support groups are available online (VHL Caregiver Connections) or through the VHL Alliance.
Caregiver Telephone Discussion Group:
Please join our Caregiver-Only discussion group!
The discussion is held at 8 PM EST on the 3rd Monday of every month.
It is facilitated by Leona de Vinne, a VHL patient and caregiver as well as a certified life-coach.
To sign-up and receive the telephone number, please contact the VHL Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.767.4848 x4.
Many people who were once caregivers say they did too much on their own. Some wished that they had asked for help sooner. Be honest about what you can do. Think about tasks you can give to others. And let go of tasks that aren’t so important at this time.
For more information, check out the resources available on this site or contact the organizations in the Caregiver Resources.