If you and your spouse are sharing the caregiving duties, then you automatically have a built-in support network and someone with whom you can trade off from time to time. Even so, you must also both be aware of the need to care for each other. As above, your loved one will be counting on both of you to be there. You must be sure that you can be.
COPING TIPS: A 1999 CNN article included the following excellent list of coping tips:
- Accept that you may need help from others.
- Talk regularly with family, friends or mental health professionals. Find a support group, locally and/or online, and share your feelings so they don't escalate into problems.
- Set limits. It is OK to say no to taking on more than you can handle -- physically and emotionally.
- Eat nutritiously, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
- Let go of unrealistic expectations and demands. Don't be a martyr.
- Keep a sense of humor.
OTHER RESOURCES: Many people also find that it helps to be in contact with others who are in similar situations. See our Mailing Lists & Chat page for support groups and other mailing lists that are available. Also be sure to check out some of the following links. Caregiving (particularly for the elderly) has become such a big issue these days that there are a wealth of resources out there. Sites which might be useful to you include:
- Caring for the Caregiver: Tips on Reducing Stress
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- NFCA: National Family Caregivers Association
- TBI Help Desk For Caregivers