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Advice for Caregivers

When we think of caregivers, we usually think of wonderfully compassionate people who provide full-time, live-in care. Some people living with lupus may need such care, but those with milder symptoms may only require part-time or occasional help. Regardless of the type or amount of care you provide, here are a few helpful strategies for maintaining a healthy balance in your life while you provide comfort and support to your loved one with lupus.

Make Time for Yourself

When you spend a good portion of the day caring for another person, it’s sometimes hard to find time for yourself. But it’s important to do so, for your own well-being, and for your ability to fully be there for
your friend or family member.

It doesn’t have to be a lot of time…just time that’s completely your own. So whether you have five
minutes or five hours, do something that is
completely, and totally, for you. Here are a few
suggestions:

Read a book Go to the gym
Take a bath Have lunch or coffee with a friend
Go for a walk or run Write in your journal
Go shopping Get a massage
Play with the dog Take a bike ride
Take a nap Play a musical instrument

Take Time for Other Family Members

If one of your immediate family members has lupus,
you may find that you don’t get to spend as much time
as you’d like with your spouse, children, or other
family members. Here are a few tips for restoring
balance on the home front.

  • Plan one-on-one time. Plan some alone time with
    each family member at some point during the week.
    Even if it’s just 15 minutes here or there, it will be
    time well spent for both of you.
  • Do errands together. A trip to the grocery store
    may not be your child’s idea of fun, but if it means
    getting some one-on-one time with you and
    perhaps the chance to pick out a treat or two, it
    could serve a dual purpose. Depending on your
    child’s age, you might even get a little help
    unloading the cart.
  • Schedule date night. If you care for a family
    member other than your spouse, plan an outing with
    your spouse or significant other as often as you can.
    It will help you stay connected and give you a
    needed respite from your cares at home.
  • Engage other family members in care. The
    responsibilities of caring for your family member
    with lupus need not rest on your shoulders alone. By
    engaging other family members to help with tasks
    that are appropriate for them, you’re instilling a
    sense of family unity and mutual caring, and getting
    help at the same time.
  • Plan family fun activities. It doesn’t have to be a
    daylong outing. It can be going downtown for ice
    cream, taking a stroll in the park or cooking a meal
    together. Bonding as a family unit can help ease any
    frustration other family members may be feeling,
    and create wonderful family memories in the
    process.