6 Mental Health Tips for Caregivers

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6 Mental Health Tips for Caregivers

May 26, 2020

Taking care of others throughout a health crisis is especially challenging. The impact of a pandemic, coupled with the added responsibility of caregiving, can have quite an effect on mental health for family caregivers.
Recent studies show the growing impact of COVID-19 on mental health. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the current health crisis has affected almost half of the adult population’s emotional well-being. Some research shows caregivers are finding it particularly stressful if they’re caring for a loved one with dementia (watch the video here). 
Here are a few action items to help support mental health:  

  1. Be Kind to Yourself. “These are unprecedented times,” says Linda Efird, InnovAge director of behavioral health. “Routines have been upended, so do the best you can and be okay with things being different than they were before.” 

  2. Take News Breaks. Repeatedly hearing or reading about COVID-19 can be upsetting. Be sure to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories – including social media. If social media helps pass the time, be sure to follow accounts that are positive or share fun posts frequently. (For example: InnovAge’s Facebook page posts a Wacky Wednesday theme each week.) 

  3. Maintain Personal Health. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced mealsget plenty of sleep, and move your body. Yoga is a great alternative as it effectively manages stress, depression, and anxiety. 

  4. Make Time to Unwind. Participate in activities you enjoy or rediscover a hobby such as crafting, coloring, knitting, or reading. Look up online videos to learn something new.   

  5. Call a friend. Stay connected with friends and family through phone calls, instant messages, or online video conferencing. 

  6. Seek help. If you feel like you need more help, find a professional. “Telemedicine is more available now than it ever has been,” Linda says. 

“This is a really stressful time for people,” she continued. “We know from years of research the negative impacts stress can have on our physical and mental health. It’s important for family caregivers to stay tuned into their loved ones to be sure they are getting the support they need – and to be sure they are taking care of themselves, too."
As a caregiver, what ways have you found to care for your own mental health?


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