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CaregivingMany Americans will find themselves in the position of “caregiver” at one time or another within their lives. They will have to care for aging parents, mentally or physically sick spouses, children with disabilities, and/or others.

It can be very difficult to find yourself in a position of giving care to someone who can no longer care for him/herself. It can be stressful, depressing, tiring, difficult, and overwhelming. Although taking time for and taking care of yourself is very important when you are in the position of caregiver, many people do not.

Here are some tips to help you handle the task and title (rewarding as it might be) of “caregiver.”

• Take one day at a time
• Accept help – yes, maybe you can do it on your own, but you will be able to do it better if you have some help. Find out what resources are available to you – maybe there is an adult day care in your area or other such resources. If people offer help, accept it – give them specific things that they can do.
• Take care of yourself – eat properly and get sufficient sleep. Allow yourself a break – take leisure time. Set aside a little time every day, or even an entire day every week. Watch out for signs of depression, and seek professional help if needed. Do not ever feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. After all, if you do not take proper care of yourself, how can you take proper care of someone whom you love?
• Share – talk with a friend, loved one, or even a counselor. Consider joining a support group – there are millions of Americans who are caregivers, just like you. Do not bottle up your feeling and troubles. Vent when you need to.
• Always plan ahead – doing so can help eliminate potential stressors.
• Educate yourself – learn as much as you can about the condition of your loved one.
• Accept – accept that you cannot control the disease or disability. It is out of your control.
• Keep a sense of humor.

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