Caregiving Tips for the Best New Year!

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Joan Lunden

Aging Well /

Eight tips for family caregivers mainphoto

Give yourself a health and wellness gift. Caregivers often neglect their own health, so make it a point to get that overdue medical checkup or book yourself a much deserved massage. Set aside a nap time or get out for a daily walk. Join that yoga, stretch or craft class you’ve wanted to take. If you feel that you’re suffering from anxiety or depression -- find a therapist or join a support group. Taking care of your own personal health is the first step toward reducing any stress and strain of the year ahead. 

Ask for help and be open to accepting it. Asking friends or family members for help is often the hardest thing to do. As caregivers, we often take on the role of hero, martyr or savior. Too often we have a “go it alone policy” and believe that we must take care of everything ourselves - You don’t. 

Sometimes a friend is all we need. Identify a supportive community of friends, families or spiritual gatherings. Engaging a friend for conversation, support or assistance is a wonderful approach to self- care. A safe sounding board can help alleviate stress. A good friend might even offer some respite time -- don’t be afraid to ask -- it can lift your spirits.

Many caregivers are concerned they are seen as a burden and are often reluctant to come out and be connected to the world around them. Sometimes they feel no one cares. By finding a community outside the family, caregivers know they exist in a community of loving people who want to help because they care.

Family conferences are like tune-ups for the family car. This car needs to drive well, efficiently and for a long time. Schedule these conversations regularly before the wheels fall off. Understanding roles and responsibilities is extremely important to maintain a healthy family dynamic. Ongoing family conferences will help maintain necessary boundaries so that no one feels out of control or inadequate.

Keep a gratitude list in a journal filled with wonderful affirmations. Make gratitude your personal goal throughout the coming year. Exercising gratefulness lightens the load and shifts your focus away from darkness and worry. Gratitude empowers you to see the great abundance that there is in being alive. This process can inspire new avenues of thought and create a wonderful keepsake for you to treasure.

Find humor everywhere you go. “Laughter Is the Best Medicine” is an old expression popularized by Norman Cousin’s book Anatomy of an Illness, in which he describes his battle with cancer and how he “laughed” his way to recovery. Laughter is a great tension-releaser, pain reducer, breathing improver, and elevator of moods. Humor is a great elixir to get us through difficult or stressful times. Make sure you find your own laughter to keep smiling in your own life. Your energy for others will only happen when you energize and empower your own life force today.

These tips come from Dr. Jamie Huysman, a leading authority, speaker and media expert on caregiver burnout. His 25 year career has been devoted to supporting the “resilience of the human spirit.”

Learn more from Dr. Jamie at

About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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