Chapter 3 - Caring for Yourself
Caring for someone at home, while rewarding, can add a great deal of stress to your life. As you focus on the needs of your loved one, it is sometimes easy to forget or neglect your own needs. But to maintain your own health and to provide quality care for your loved one, you must be aware of and responsive to your own physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
One thing that is very important to remember is that you do not have to do everything alone. Trying to take on all aspects of care yourself will wear you out physically and compromise your effectiveness as a caregiver. Chapter 3, "Caring for Yourself," focuses on you, the caregiver – how to make the best use of the resources available to you, how to determine your level of stress, and how to reduce or cope with it.
The first section of this chapter focuses on the family meeting. A family meeting allows everyone who is concerned for the person receiving care to discuss and decide together how best to accomplish the goal of excellent care. Chapter 3 tells you how to plan the meeting, gives you guidelines for facilitating the meeting as it happens, and provides valuable tips for conflict resolution and follow-up.
Chapter 3 emphasizes the need to care for yourself. It gives you questions to ask yourself to determine how healthy your habits are and the severity of your stress level. It describes the effects of stress on the body and explains several techniques for releasing stress. Chapter 3 outlines how to create a stress management plan and provides concrete strategies for coping with stress and avoiding burnout, including seeking out respite care and setting boundaries. By providing you with information to help you preserve your own health, this chapter helps you increase your capacity to care for others.
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