Ask the Expert – What can I do to reduce the stress of caring for my husband?

Ask the Expert – What can I do to reduce the stress of caring for my husband?

Elayne ForgieThe Ask the Expert Column appears in the Palm Beach Post every Tuesday!

Question – What can I do to reduce the stress of caring for my husband?

Answer: Finding ways to reduce caregiver stress will help lessen the long-term emotional and physical toll. Tips for managing stress include:

  • Keep a positive attitude. Believe in yourself.
  • Accept that there are events you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. “Assert” your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.
  • Learn to relax. Try to set aside some time each day to mediate. Take a walk or hot bath.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Limit yourself to moderate alcohol and caffeine intake. Don’t rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
  • Attend a Yoga class or buy a book or DVD and practice at home
  • Learn to use stress management techniques and coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing or guided imagery
  • Focus on what you are able to provide. Don’t give in to guilt. Feeling guilty is normal, but understand that no one is a “perfect” caregiver.
  • Join a support group. They can be a great source for encouragement and advice from others in similar situations.
  • Reach out. The Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center provides programs and services just for caregivers.