If you are not well, they either

Reading time: 3 min

The exercise of caring could be defined as the set of behaviours and actions that encompass the knowledge, values, skills and activities implemented to maintain or improve the process of living and dying. Carers are people who provide that level of attention for someone.

By caring for people at home, dependents are able to remain in a familiar environment close to people they know.

The carer is the person who provides that level of attention. It may be a relative, a friend or someone close, but whoever that person had not expected to become a carer, and may not be prepared for it.

It’s really important for carers to take care of themselves. Otherwise, they will be in no condition to keep caring for the dependent person.

Carers must learn to:

Person touching another person's back, emotional support

Ask for help

  • Ask for help from other relatives and friends right from the start
  • Ask for help clearly and explicitly
  • If possible, bring carers together to organise their time and be more effective
  • Be grateful for help given
  • Use services, institutions and associations that provide help with care
Form with ticked boxes in a folder

Organise their time

  • Mask a list of tasks completed throughout the day and the time taken
  • Classify tasks by order of priority and check if any of them can be done by the person being cared for. If so, encourage him or her to do so
  • Place limits on the amount of help given. It is possible for the carer to become too involved or for the dependent person to demand a disproportionate level of care
  • Find times to relax between periods of care, and make sure to adhere to these times
Person sleeping on a bed

Maintain healthy habits

  • Try to sleep a full seven or eight hours, if you can. If that’s not possible (because the dependent has intermittent sleep patterns), try to take turns with another relative or carer
  • Before going to bed, try to enjoy a relaxing activity that will ease away any tension built up over the course of the day
  • Find moments throughout the day to stop and take a break
  • Keep up with your other interests and friendships, and get out of the house
  • Take regular moderate exercise
  • Eat well. Rushing, stress and nerves can lead to the loss of routines and regular mealtimes. It’s important to eat a balanced diet and not skip meals
Woman getting out of bed with unrefreshing sleep

Listen to your body’s warning signals and take steps

  • Tiredness and feeling sleepy
  • Isolation: going outside only when absolutely necessary, not seeing friends, not enjoying any leisure activities, etc.
  • Increased consumption of medication, tobacco, alcohol
  • Palpitations, shaking, gut problems, bone and joint aches, etc.
  • Increased or reduced appetite
  • Mood swings and increased irritability
  • Finding it hard to concentrate, memory lapses, difficulty in making decisions
  • Financial problems
  • Lateness or repeated absence from work, difficulty in carrying out normal tasks, etc.


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