Here’s a 10-question test for caregivers to determine if they are
injuring their own health.
The authors say: “On average, it takes family caregivers four years
to reach out and ask for help. Don’t be part of those statistics. Ask
for the help you want and need. You will be a healthier caregiver and
the person receiving care will be better cared for.”
Are you a healthy caregiver?
July 19, 2018
Family Caregivers of British Columbia
Many caregivers understand the importance of caring for themselves
and, yet, in another breath, say things like, “I feel overwhelmed,”
“I’m stressed out,” “I’m too busy to eat, let alone find time to stay
healthy,” and “There are so many things to do, how do I make time for
Start by checking in with yourself. Respond to the statements below to
recognize the positive steps you are already taking to ensure you stay
healthy, and to identify areas where you might consider action to help
keep you resilient.
1. I am satisfied with my overall personal health.
2. I have the skills and information I need to give the required care.
3. I maintain regular contact with family and friends and make time
to spend with them.
4. I can ask for help and accept help when it is offered. I know I
don’t have to, and can’t, do this alone.
5. I can communicate effectively with the person I am caring for, as
well as with others involved in their care.
6. I am aware of community resources available to help support me in
my caregiver role.
7. I am aware of caregiver support groups (locally or online) and/or
have a supportive network where I can share my challenges and
8. I make use of respite options available and take breaks away from
my caregiving responsibilities.
9. I have gathered information about the progression of my care
recipient’s disease, so I know what to expect and can prepare in
advance as best I can.
10. I know how to navigate the healthcare system and who to ask if,
and when, I need help.
Give yourself one point for every “Yes” answer.
You are already taking several important actions to take care of
yourself and make sure caregiving is sustainable for you. Look closely
at any statements where you answered “No,” and consider whether
accessing more resources would be helpful for you.
You understand the importance of self-care, but you’re not always able
to take action to support yourself. Consider any barriers you have to
self-care and ask yourself whether these are external (you don’t know
about the resources that exist to help you) or internal (you have
trouble asking for and receiving support). Sharing the care is
essential to finding enough time and energy for yourself. Choose one
statement where you responded “No” to work on this week.
Fewer than 5 Points
Without contributing to your own well-being, caregiving quickly
becomes overwhelming and unsustainable. Use this list of 10 statements
as a guide to creating a self-care plan; start with learning more
about the caregiver support resources available to guide you. It will
be important for you to identify resources you’re not currently using
in your social circle, such as family, friends, acquaintances and
neighbours, to share the care and create some much-needed space for
addressing your own well-being.
On average, it takes family caregivers four years to reach out and ask
for help. Don’t be part of those statistics. Ask for the help you want
and need. You will be a healthier caregiver and the person receiving
care will be better cared for.