Caring for Caregivers

Caregivers typically provide assistance to someone who has a chronic illness or disabling condition. Whether a family member with special needs is a child or an adult, combining personal, caregiving and everyday needs can be challenging. Use these tips to help you find a way to manage caregiving on a daily basis.
  • Be informed. Take time to learn about your family member’s condition and special needs requirements. Talk to health care providers and other professionals who work with families with special needs. Understand the needs of you and your family, and work together to make good choices about housing, schools, health services and more.
  • Get support. It’s important to remember that even when you feel isolated, you are not alone. Join a local or online support group. Search for local and national groups that provide services, recreation and information for families with special needs. Find out about local, state, federal or other programs that may be available.
  • Be an advocate. Ask questions, and know your rights. Become familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and other state and national provisions. Know how and when to apply them to your situation. Make sure your employer understands your circumstances or limitations. Arrange for flexible scheduling when needed.
  • Be empowering. Focus on what you and your family member can do. Recognize appropriate milestones to celebrate. Look for memorable events and achievements to honor family members with special needs.
  • Take care of yourself. Stay healthy for yourself and those you care for. Work to maintain your personal interests, hobbies and friendships. Balance is key! When needed, don't be afraid to take a break from caregiving to recharge. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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