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Avoiding caregiver burnout Special To The Star-news | Sat, Nov 05 2011 12:00 PM

While family caregiving can be rewarding, it can make life more stressful for those providing the care.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this type of stress affects women more then men. Women caregivers tend to offer more assistance, such as managing physical needs.

Three out of four caregivers, men and women, report feeling strained emotionally, physically or financially.

The stress involved can be worse for caregivers of the elderly, as it is hard to watch a parent lose cognitive abilities.

It's not unusual for caregivers to develop health problems of their own. Part of the reason is that they are less likely to take good care of themselves due to time and money constraints imposed by caregiving. Caregivers may not have the time for regular checkups, may not fill a prescription due to cost, miss sleep or forget to eat healthy meals.

It's very important for caregivers to recognize their own limits. Here are a few tips to help:

* Find out about caregiving resources in your community.

* Don't do it alone. Ask for and accept help. Ask family members to do their share.

* Simplify your life and reduce other sources of stress. Make "to do" lists.

* Stay in touch with family and friends.

* Join a support group.

* Make time to get away and have fun.

* Consider home care supportive services.

A home care professional can coordinate a patient's plan of care under the direction of his or her doctor. A wide range of treatments and procedures that were once performed in a hospital can now be delivered at home. Trained clinicians teach individuals and their families self-management for chronic conditions or help with recovery from an illness or injury.

Supportive services from a home care company such as Interim HealthCare can help with bathing, preparing meals, shopping, companionship, transportation and limited light housework.

The company is one of the leading home care and medical staffing companies in the country. Employing more than 75,000 health care workers and providing services to approximately 50,000 people, the company also offers an evaluation test to identify factors that may place someone at risk (www.independent livingassessment.com).

For more information, visit www.interimhealthcare.com.

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