NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Caring for the Caregiver

Caring for the Caregiver


            Are you one of the 62,100 individuals in North Dakota providing care to a spouse, relative or friend?  A caregiver is someone who helps another with things he or she cannot do for him/herself due to a serious medical condition or the aging process in general. Caregiving can include transportation, housekeeping, grocery shopping, bill paying, personal care, managing legal or insurance matters or providing a place to live.


            There are many different kinds of caregivers:

  • Long-distance caregiver – These individuals look out for a loved one who lives in a different city, state or country.
  • Sandwich generation caregiver – These are men and women who are sandwiched between taking care of their own children and taking care of one or more elderly parents.
  • Spousal caregiver – These individuals find themselves taking care of a spouse with a serious illness.
  • Working caregiver – These are adults in the workforce are faced with the dilemma of holding down a job and making sure a loved one is taken care of properly.


            Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it also can be filled with enormous challenges, such as time commitment, competing demands, financial implications, and physical and mental stress. Some common symptoms of caregiver stress include depression, withdrawal, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anger, health issues, exhaustion, anxiety, drinking, smoking and altered eating habits.


Following are some tips to help you:


  • Take care of yourself. Learn and use stress-reduction techniques, e.g. meditation, prayer, yoga, Tai Chi. Get proper rest and nutrition.  Exercise regularly, even if only for 10 minutes at a time.  Take time off without feeling guilty. Participate in pleasant, nurturing activities, such as reading a good book, taking a warm bath. Seek supportive counseling when you need it, or talk to a trusted counselor, friend, or pastor.


  • Ask for help. The ND Family Caregiver Support Program is a system of support services for unpaid caregivers of older adults to help them continue to provide care in their homes and community through information, assistance, counseling, support groups and training. Contact the Aging Services Division at 1-855-462-5465 for more information or to learn more about other services and supports available to you and your care recipient. Also see www.nd.gov/dhs/info/pubs/docs/aging/fact-sheet-family-caregiver-support-program.pdf for more information.


  • Get educated on family caregiving issues. The AARP’s Caregiver Resource Center at www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving has checklists, worksheets, tips, tools, articles, blogs, Ask the Experts and more.  
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