Stress Management And Self Care

As a caregiver, the way you take care of yourself is just as important as the care you provide for your loved one.

In fact, we might argue that it can be even more important. 

It’s easy to become too busy, distracted or overwhelmed with responsibilities and neglect your own physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs. It’s only when you take care of yourself that you can continue providing sustainable and quality care for the person you care for. 

If your needs are neglected, you’re at a higher risk of depression, burnout and other health issues. This happens far too often – and to far too many caregivers who have the best of intentions. 

Manage Your Stress

While a certain amount of stress is natural and expected, too much stress for anyone can be harmful. When caregivers experience added stress, it can compromise their health and affect the state of mind in the person they’re caring for. 

Tips for managing stress in a positive way include:

  • Explore and activate respite options - an important component of successful caregiving. The first step is to let others know that you need a break. 
  • Explore Adult Day Programs like Club 36, provided by the Alzheimer Society of Calgary
  • Spend quality time with family and friends
  • Drop-in on a Conversation Café event. They’re fun and they’re happening everywhere. Both you and the person you’re caring for are welcome.
  • Join a local support group to meet other caregivers
  • Get enough sleep
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • Take a walk or spend time outdoors
  • Take part in a new activity that challenges your mind or body
  • Talk to your family physician
  • Connect to long-distance family and friends and enjoy some free face time when travel isn’t possible - try Skype or WhatsApp.
  • Schedule a massage, bubble bath or quiet reading time

Other resources:

Alberta Health Services Family Caregiver Centre

  • Allows you to connect with other people affected by dementia and their family members. It usually involves coffee meetings or other engaging activities.
  • Call 403-955-1674
  • Visit their website 

Alberta Health Services Home Care

  • They will visit your home and discuss the in-home care options that best suit you.
  • Contact (403) 943-1920
  • Visit AHS Home Care page 

Calgary Seniors' Resource Society

  • Free friendly visiting programs, escorted transportation and reassurance over the phone
  • Call (403) 266-6200
  • Visit their website

Private organizations

  • Private companies or care attendants can be hired for a specific day and time period. 
    • Note that it is important to ask questions of the agency and the individual coming into the home, such as:
      • What are their credentials? 
      • Are they bonded? 
      • Have they had any dementia-specific training? 
      • What activities will they plan for your loved one? 
      • Do they provide personal care if needed?
      • How will they manage transportation?

*Remember, caring for yourself is not selfish — it is the greatest gift you can give your loved one.*

Further Information