Category Archives: Caregiver Stress

Feeling Good When It’s Your Job To Care: Tips For Caregivers

Photo via Pixabay by Silviarita

Taking care of someone is a big job that often requires quite a bit of physical strength and emotional reserve. It can be difficult to manage your own life around someone else’s needs, and sometimes, that job can take a toll on your physical and mental health. For that reason, it’s imperative to make sure you take good care of yourself, learn to cope with stress and anxiety, and find ways to relax and focus on your own needs once in a while.

Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can do this. Managing your stress may seem like a difficult task, but there are things you can do to help yourself learn to cope in a healthy way no matter what is going on in your life. Not only will this allow you to focus on your own needs and boost your mental health, it will also help you find the motivation and energy you need to help your loved one or patient.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to practice self-care when you’re a caregiver.

Get enough rest

Adequate sleep–or a lack of it–can be one of the biggest reasons a person feels unable to cope with stress or anxiety. When you aren’t able to rest, your physical and mental abilities are reduced, making even the simplest of daily tasks difficult. There are several things you can do to help yourself get better rest, but it all starts with a good mattress that addresses your unique sleep needs. If your bedding is more than ten years old, or if you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and unrested, it’s time for a new mattress; be sure to check online for ones with good reviews.

Take a timeout

It can be overwhelming to try to handle everything in your own life when you’re taking care of someone else’s every need, but it’s important to try to take some time for yourself when you can. Whether that means heading out of town for an overnight trip or just sitting with a good book at the end of the day, think of small ways you can reduce stress and have some time to yourself. This isn’t always easy for caregivers to do, so talk to family members or coworkers to see if anyone can help out.

Eat right

Caregivers are more at risk than others for symptoms of depression or anxiety, and it’s common for them to not get enough rest or eat well-balanced meals every day. When you don’t eat right or stay hydrated, your mood and energy level can bottom out, leaving you feeling exhausted and irritable. If your schedule during the day (or night) is hectic, consider packing yourself several small, easy-to-eat snacks that will keep your blood sugar stable and help you get the nutrients you need. Cut-up veggies and hummus, string cheese, whole-wheat crackers, yogurt, and water or 100-percent fruit juice are great starts.

Treat yourself

When you get some time to yourself, make an effort to find a way to treat yourself. Get a massage or pedicure, spend some time doing something you love, or cook yourself a delicious meal. Finding small, healthy ways to make yourself happy will allow you to relax a little and take the weight of your job as a caregiver off your shoulders.

Feeling better when you spend so much time taking care of someone else can be difficult because it can lead to guilt or anxiety. Try to keep in mind that it’s just as important for your patient’s well-being as it is for yours, because you can’t be your best self when you’re tired or stressed out.

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When You Need Some Help: 5 Reasons to Join a Caregiver Support Group

In a world that seems to have lost the idea of the “village,” sometimes we feel pressured to be able to do it all. Asking for assistance or admitting that you are overwhelmed feels like failure, and we often think that we’re being judged by others as not good enough. And that’s just with normal, everyday life.

When you find yourself caring for a loved one, the pressure increases. You are expected to take on this additional burden with a smile, and your willingness to do so seems to be a measurement of your love; expressing your anger or frustration to friends and family earns you appalled looks of disbelief. The good news is that there is a village for you; a caregiver support group. Here are 5 reasons why you should think about joining one.

To Reduce Stress

Perhaps the primary reason to join a support group for caregivers is to reduce your stress levels. Simply having that hour to yourself every week is an important step in separating yourself from the role of caregiver and reclaiming your identity. Being under excessive stress can have negative consequences for both your physical health, and your mental well-being. Maintaining your own well-being is essential to being able to properly care for your loved one.

To Gain a Safe Space

You won’t find any disapproving looks or judgment in a support group. Support groups are by their very nature a confidential and judgment-free zone, where you can discuss your frustrations and less than charitable thoughts with people who understand exactly what you’re going through. They can help alleviate your feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and when you admit to selfish thoughts and attitudes, they will nod their heads and tell you that they understand.

To Reduce Feelings of Isolation

When you’re a caregiver for someone else, it’s easy to find yourself feeling alone, both literally and emotionally. When you can’t leave your loved one to go have a drink with your friends, or you spend all your waking time tending to someone else’s needs, you often find that you don’t have any social interactions. All your contacts are with the person you’re caring for, or their healthcare professionals. Emotionally, it appears nobody else understands you and it’s difficult to relate to those outside your situation. Joining a support group puts you in touch with other people who get it.

To Prevent Burnout

If you end up caring for someone else for too long, without any support system in place for yourself, you’re likely going to suffer from burnout. You’ll reach a point where caring for someone has taken such a toll on you that you are incapable of continuing, and many times, you’ll lose your identity and sense of self. Caregivers leave their support groups feeling refreshed and empowered to keep going. Members can point you in the direction of other resources and programs that can assist you. You may be able to find help with meals, respite care, or even an opportunity to hire a part-time caregiver to relieve you.

To Gain Insights and Advice

Being part of a support group is one of the best ways to find valuable advice and information about caregiving. Everyone has their own methods for dealing with stress, setting boundaries, and finding time for self-care. Having the knowledge of so many others freely available can help you to discover which tips and tricks will work best for you. They may be even able to help prepare you for what to expect down the road.

Joining a caregiver support group may be the best thing that you can do for yourself during this trying time. It will help you maintain your own well-being while caring for another.

About Audrey:

Audrey Robinson is a careers blogger, supporting online knowledge libraries like BizDb. Audrey enjoys working with people from different professions, sharing her tips for self-improvement, improving one’s career opportunities and preventing burnout. Feel free to reach out to her on @AudreyyRobinson.






Filed under Caregiver Stress, Caregiving, Guest Blogger

When Boundaries Become Blurred

Join us on Wednesday April 29th on Health Café  at 7:00 pm (EDT) as we visit with Melanie McMillion from TrustBridge Health.  With 20 years of clinical experience working in hospice, palliative care and bereavement, Melanie has extensive skill in  assisting people and families with chronic and terminal health issues, caregiving stress and grief and bereavement. On Wednesday’s show, we are going to have an upbeat conversation about Caregivers working in healthcare and the importance of professional boundaries.  Tune in and learn how Melanie is creating Healing Ties all around us!  Cannot listen live?  No Worries!! Healing Ties is available on  demand at iHeart Radio and now on UK Health Radio.

To listen live on Wednesday at 7:00 pm visit  or simply click here! 

To listen to all of our shows on demand visit our iHeart Radio Channel by clicking here!

Healing Ties is on UK Health Radio, too by clicking here! 



Melanie McMillion is a LMHC  and a Field Educator for TrustBridge Health. With over 20 years of clinical experience working in hospice, palliative care, and bereavement, Melanie has extensive experience assisting individuals and families with chronic and terminal health issues, caregiver stress, and grief, loss and bereavement.  Melanie lectures on these important topics and today we are visit with Melanie on the importance of maintaining professional ethics and boundaries, caregiver stress management, and end of life care



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Washing Away 2014 With One Last Toast

When love is at its best, one loves so much that he cannot forget.  Helen Hunt Jackson


New Years Eve Toast 2013. Photo Credit: Carline Jean Sun-Sentinel

Last week during the Christmas holiday, we took a drive down memory lane and visited all the beautiful lights on Ocean Drive in Palm Beach and Broward County.  The outpouring of support from those two blog post is most appreciate.

As we move into the New Year, I do not want to forget about 2014, but I do want to wash it away.  Healing and grieving is different for everyone who has gone through the loss of a loved one.  Grieving would not be hard if love was not involved. Healing would be next to impossible without family and friends like you!

This year, I have decided not to make any new year resolutions, but rather to make some new year commitments.  In 2015, I will commit to taking better care of myself, including my physical, emotional, spiritual and financial self.  There is no secret weapon or path to accomplish this; taking better care of myself is something that is important to my healing process.   Caregivers understand that the last person who gets care, is the Caregiver.  Now, it is time for me to embark on a new caregiving role; caring for myself.

In 2015, I will continue to advocate for Caregivers and their Caree’s through my new radio show, Healing TiesTieHands on Health Cafe and iHeart Radio.  Our downloadshow on iHeart is listed under the Health section and there are already 10 shows up for you to listen to by simply clicking here!   (Listen in and be sure to click on the heart!)  I will keep blogging on ‘The Purple Jacket’ as this spot is reserved for TLO and all of our friends and followers who have been supportive over WholeCareNetworkthe years.  Early in 2015, I will introduce a new website, Healing Ties which will feature information about the radio show while introducing you to the Whole Care Network.  The new site is still in the development process, but you can take a quick look at the new website by clicking here!  Your feedback and opinion on the new website is most appreciated!  Our new website will highlight the Whole Care Network  which will be a bevy of referrals and references to help you create Healing Ties in your life and in your community.

There are three eBooks in the works and one major book, about our caregiving story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’ is in the works, too. image004Early in 2015 you’ll see posting about group cruises for Caregivers, especially for those Caregivers who have lost a spouse or a partner.  It is time for us to come together in celebration, in care, in commitment and in love, to support and be there for each other. There are some other exciting opportunities that are presenting themselves as we move forward in 2015, I will be sure to keep you in the loop! It is going to be a busy year with workshops and presentations across the country: remember I am making a new year commitment,  not a new year resolution!

IMG_47020763026057 I do not have any fancy words or sage advice today, that’s never been our style here on The Purple Jacket; I simply write from the aspect of love, care and commitment which seems to fit just fine.  As I wash away 2014, I toast you, and thank you for being with us on this journey.  One thing this past year has taught me is to live in the moment: Funny TLO used to tell me that all the time!  So as we bring in the new year, I am thankful for the love that we shared, thankful for the life with TLO, and ready and willing to move forward, just as he wanted me to do.


“I love the photo that includes your rear view mirror – you brought your past into the present last night.” Denise Brown from

I leave you with this wonderful quote  brought to you by my good friend, Denise Brown from and ” I love the photo that includes your rear view mirror–you brought your past into the present last night.” I did not get the symbolism of this picture until Denise pointed it out to me, I am so thankful to Denise for her insight! Why? Because, I never want to forget about the past, yet life moves forward, not back.  Love is what shapes us: Love will never be washed away! 

Blessed and Happy New Year to you and your family! 



Filed under Caregiver Stress, Healing, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples

Friday’s Video Chat: Family Caregivers Talk Career and Caregiving



On Friday, January 10th at 3:00 pm ET, I have been invited by Denise Brown from to join her and three other family on weekly video chat.  This week four different Caregivers talk about juggling a career and their Caregiving responsibilities. To watch the discussion, hosted by Denise Brown from simply click here!   

Denise Brown Denise Brown began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support family Caregivers.  Through her  blog, Denise  share’s words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. Denise is also an accomplished Author and Public Speaker. If you have not visited, now is a great time to do so!

Below is Friday’s guest list:

–Chris (me), who works for a social service agency and cares for his partner. Chris blogs on and on his website, The Purple Jacket. Follow Chris on Twitter: @TheBowTieGuy

–Heather, a long-distance caregiver for her father who works for a regional medical center. You can listen to Heather talk about her Caregiving experience here. Follow Heather on Twitter: @HeatherSlutzky

–Shanika, a freelance multimedia copywriter in which she combines her skills as in 2D animation, illustration, and interactive media with web copy to create visually engaging sales messages. She works part-time from home in the mountainous area of Lithonia, Georgia, where she takes care of both her parents, Emmitt and Johnnie Journey, and her one year old son, Antonio. Follow Shanika on Twitter: @ShanikaJourney

Trish, who cares for her brother, works as a legal administrator. You can read her blog on and on and connect with her on Twitter, @robertssister1.

See you on Friday!


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We’ve been discharged from the hospital!


I’ll be back later today on ‘The Purple Jacket’ with further details.

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Filed under Advocate, Caregiver Stress, Inter-generational Relationships, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Senior Health

Slumber Party At The Hospital!

As the day progressed from our visit to the Emergency Room early this morning, ‘The Little One’ was admitted to the cardiac unit at North Broward Hospital late this afternoon. He is resting peacefully now!


We’ve been caught up in the emotion of the day, but we know that we are in a safe place this evening. The last week or so at home has been quite stressful for both of us as TLO’s health has been a challenge. New areas of pain overshadowed by different kinds of pain. A new experience?

As the Caregiver, I want to take away his pain. I am confident that all Caregivers understand this. As Caregivers, we sit back, take a deep breath and want our secret powers from our Caregiving Cape to make everything better… Whoosh

But the cold hard facts are that we all all human!

A slumber party is in order this evening; there will not be any pillow fights and there will be no popcorn as well. The slumber party may not take away the pain, but the slumber party will certainly p20130918-214639.jpgprovide the much needed comfort that we seek during our Caregiving journey.

Finding comfort is one of the common denominator in Caregiving. We all want it, we all strive for it, but we don’t know how to find it when we are in the midst of our journey.

Tonight I am finding my comfort zone by having a slumber party at the hospital. There is no comfort in going home to an empty house! Heck, I might even ring that call bell.

You see… We might have cancer, but cancer does not have us!




Filed under Advocate, Caregiver Stress, Esophagus Cancer, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, Unconditional Love

Emergency Room

We’ve made a trip to the emergency room today as ‘The Little One’ experienced a bad spell of laborious breathing through the night and early this morning.

He has been fearful of this trip, but he insisted on coming to the emergency room this morning. The recent struggles with the esophagus and tumor has produced quite a bit of discomfort for him this week. Now a week into his steroid medication without any outward signs of relief; we are where we are supposed to be today.

As I (we) sit here waiting and worrying, our best source of comfort comes from our faith, our family, and our friends. For me, I find relief in writing.

We don’t know what is ahead of us today, but in essence, do any of us? Sure our schedules are filled with appointments, telephone calls and meetings. But all those things can wait because when you get right down to it, there is nothing more important in life than being present to the one you love.

Today we are going to try to be as calm as an ocean breeze!

You see… we might have cancer, but cancer does not have us!



Filed under caregiver, Caregiver Stress, Gay Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

This Is Just Like Real Life!



Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you. Aldous Huxley

My featured guest Thursday night on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio was Lisa Fields from @PracticalWisdom. I knew she would be a dynamite guest, and that proved to be true because Lisa does offer us Practical Wisdom!

303366_10151039308328707_2074390602_nDoing live, Internet radio does come with its challenges, tonight was one of them as Lisa and I had a 5 to 10 second delay in our conversation with each other. The ‘delay’ in the conversation made it challenging for us, yet my trusted co-host, Diane Hawn was able to pitch in and help make the conversation and show go smoothly. I can’t thank them enough for their kindness and willingness to ‘go with the flow!’

As Caregivers, we often have to just go with the flow. Just 90 minutes before tonight radio show, TLO had a terrible experience while eating dinner. The esophagus and tumor does have its own schedule! AT 6:45 pm, we thought we were heading to the hospital, thankfully TLO’s trouble passed and he was able to rest peacefully: at 8:05 pm I am dealing with tech problems with a radio program. Just what is the big picture here?

Lisa, the great sport that she is simply said, “This is just like real life!”235354tir0fftkh What a great dose of Practical Wisdom! Life is full of trials and tribulations: the calamity of tonight’s technology problems pales in comparison to the health issues that Caregivers and their Caree’s face on a daily basis. One minute we are thinking about calling 911, the next minute well…This IS just like real life!

We will be sure to schedule Lisa again for the show, because she does offer such wonderful ‘Practical Wisdom.’ She made a host feel safe and secure in the midst of turmoil with that gentle reminder of why it is important for all Caregivers to tell their story. I think we all need a dose of Practical Wisdom, I am so glad that I had mine this evening!

You see, we might have Cancer,

SONY DSCBut Cancer does not have us!

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To learn more about Lisa Fields visit!

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Caregivers: Sometimes You Just Have To Ask!


Tuesday on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’,  I had the pleasure to visit with author and Caregiving expert, Dr. Amy D’Aprix.  During our conversation, Dr. Amy recanted a story about a taxi driver who was able to help her out with a simple request for an envelope.  Not knowing why she even asked the taxi driver for an envelope, she in turned learned a great lesson from the taxi driver when he said to her, “when you need something in life, you need to ASK, ASK, ASK!”

David AllenAs Caregivers, we can fall into the trap thinking that “we can do it all”, yet when it is time for a break or time for  respite, sometimes we don’t know how to ask for help.  Having the ability to ask for help is one of the first ways to help  ease Caregiver stress.

The main Caregiver in a family is usually the lead when it relates to disseminating information to family, friends and neighbors. Sometimes those family, friends and neighbors are just a conversation away from being in a position to help.  Help is not always assumed, and sometimes in order to get what you want, you just have to ASK, ASK, ASK!”

I am asking  you today is to simply listen to an archived version of Tuesday’s show, because I am confident that you’ll find some soothing words of wisdom from Dr. Amy because we all want to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’

To listen to an archived version of our show, simply click here! 


Dr. Amy D'Aprix

Dr. Amy D’Aprix

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Filed under Be A Healthy Caregiver, Blog Talk Radio, Caregiver Stress