3/11/2013 Q: I am exhausted and overwhelmed from being a fulltime caregiver for my father and resent not having any time for myself. Is there anything I can do to make things better? Carolyn P., Lawrenceville, GA

A: It is very important to put plans in place to ease your stress, anxiety, and even anger at all the responsibilities of being the primary caregiver.  You recognize you need help and reaching out is a good thing.

First off, know you are not alone in how you feel.  As people live longer with chronic illness and disabilities, many of us are participating in caregiving and dealing with the same issues as you.

It has become very apparent that a caregiver who is not mindful of their own health succumbs to burnout from all the concerns and duties they have every day.  It is so important to take care of yourself so you can maintain the will and capacity to continue to provide competent care.   You don’t want to become ill yourself!

I have found support groups for emotionally exhausted caregivers to be invaluable.  There you will find others to problem solve with you and give ideas on how they would handle the same problems.  Support groups are a safe place to voice your feelings without repercussions and to validate your hard work.

Sounds great, but how do you find one to attend?  Doing an internet search is the easiest but also check out your community newspapers and your local hospital outpatient services.  These are also good sources to find respite care ideas to have someone care for your family member while you attend the group.

Give a caregiver support group a try – you (and your father) will benefit!

Best of luck,


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