Working in a Pharmacy and Home Healthcare store, we often see customers rushing in and out of the store picking up items or looking for equipment/supplies for their loved one. Often times, these caregivers seem tired or even exhausted.

It reminds me that, at one point or another, we will all need a caregiver and it makes me wonder, in the flurry of our everyday lives, how do we know when caregivers are maxed out? Is there anything we can do to ease the burden even a little?

According to the Alzheimer Society, the 10 warning signs of caregiver stress include:

  1. denial about the disease (and its effects on the ill-person)
  2. anger (at the person with the disease and others)
  3. emotional sensitivity
  4. social withdrawal
  5. depression
  6. lack of sleep
  7. lack of concentration
  8. exhaustion
  9. anxiety
  10. increase in health problems

It also made me curious to know how can we help caregivers prioritize their personal health and well-being? If you know caregivers who could use some help or encouragement, here are 15 ideas to share with them:

  1. maintain your personal relationships
  2. share your feelings
  3. prioritize activities that bring you joy
  4. find ways to pamper yourself
  5. eat well
  6. exercise
  7. make yourself laugh
  8. get out of the house
  9. look into respite care
  10. speak up
  11. spread the responsibility
  12. set up regular check-ins with friends and family
  13. join a caregiver support group
  14. say “yes” when someone offers help
  15. be willing to relinquish control

As a caregiver, it is important to give yourself a break and not feel guilty. The stronger you feel emotionally, mentally and physically, the more able you are to provide care. Your loved ones need you.