How to take care of yourself:

  1. Give yourself permission to vent or cry. Your emotions are as important as your significant other's.
  2. Problem solve - find a strategy for dealing with a singular problem. A one-thing-at-a-time approach helps to prevent you from being overwhelmed in the face of many individual problems.
  3. Use friends and kinship relations to develop a solid social network Friends can serve as sympathetic ears and may help you when you need an extra hand for a suicide watch or something of the sort. Ethnic communities seem to have these kinds of networks in place, but there is no reason not to work on developing one.
  4. Use religious or spiritual resources to give you another avenue of support.
  5. Don't ignore your own health problems. You cannot care for someone else if you don't take care of your own health needs.
  6. Staying employed (if possible) can help caregivers by providing a break from caring duties. Employment can also provide a needed social outlet and help alleviate isolation which can lead to depression.
  7. Be sure to keep lines of communication open between family members and the person being cared for. Let them know concerns and feelings as well as important appointment dates and such.
  8. Learn as much as you can about the illness of the person you are caring for. The Internet is a terrific resource for doing this. Being well-familiar with your significant other's illness helps you to identify outside resources that might be useful for reducing stress.
  9. Make use of appropriate services like day sitting, day programs, volunteer taxi programs etc.
  10. Make links with different services by developing a detailed care-management plan.
  11. Make good use of counselling and support groups. this advice applies to both you, as a carer, and to your significant other.
  12. Learn mood-management and problem-solving skills.
  13. Take breaks by taking advantage of respite care provided by friends, family or a social service.
  14. Continue your hobbies and leisure-time activities as much as is possible.
  15. If you are Australian, contact the Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre at this number: 1800 242 636. The phone call is free.
  16. If the person you care for is aggressive: a) notify all professionals and others of any aggressive behaviour, b) look to protect yourself from aggressive behaviour ahead of time if possible by making safe places in the house. If need be...leave, c) have at least some rooms that lock, d) remove (or hide) items that can be used as weapons against you, e) seek professional advice on how to deal with aggressive behaviour (GPs are a good resource for this) f) If the aggression occurs in public, try not to be affected by comments made by outsiders g) seek help in the form of other support persons or counsellors.
  17. Have family conferences on how to divide up caring such as suicide watches etc.
  18. Become an advocate for carers.


Some great carer resources:

  1. Carers Australia
  2. Carers New Zealand
  3. Carers United Kingdom
  4. Carers Victoria
  5. Carers Western Australia
  6. Carers New South Wales
  7. Carers South Australia
  8. Carers Tasmania
  9. Carers America