Caregiver Role Strain
What is caregiver role strain?
Caregiver: Someone who provides care for
Caregiver role strain: When caregivers find
it hard to perform their roles or feel stressed
by situations, such as:
Change in family life
What are signs of role strain?
loss of interest in
sleep problems (too
much or not
feeling very tired
thoughts of death or
change in appetite
crying easily or for
loss of interest in
Is what I am feeling normal?
Yes, it is normal. It is not easy to care for
someone with an illness. As a caregiver of a
loved one it is normal to feel lonely, angry,
What can I do?
Taking care of someone takes a lot of
energy. It is important to care for your own
health. Do not ignore your own needs.
Accept that there is a limit to what you can
Organize your life. Write down your daily
routine. Put the list in the order of
importance. Be flexible enough to change
your priorities when something out of your
control happens. Have easy access to the
person’s health records and make sure they
are in order. Have a list of phone numbers,
medicines, and other important information.
Know your limits. Know that there are
things you cannot control.
Build a support team. These are people
you can count on at any time. Do not be
afraid to ask for help. Accept help if
someone offers. Your support team may
include: family members, friend, chaplain,
counselor, nurse or doctor. Make sure to
talk with your support team about your
feelings. It is easy and important. Keep a
journal. Don’t isolate yourself. Take time
out for yourself. Spending time with family
and friends is a great way to relax. We also
suggest you use home health care, family,
friends, or respite care. It is okay for you to
take time to enjoy your favorite pastime at
least once a week. The support from others
is the key to your success.
Eat healthy meals everyday. Fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of
water are a great way to start. Use your
favorite foods during stressful times as a
comfort food. Prepare extra portions and
place them into containers to freeze for a
quick meal. Consider Meals on Wheels and
other programs that provide healthy meals at
a small charge delivered right to your home.
Look at the positive. Take pride in what
you know and what you can do. Although
giving care can be hard, you are doing great
things for your loved one. Use humor.
Find time together. You are a team. Talk
about the care you provide and your
relationship. Find time together to do things
you enjoy. You could go for a picnic or on a
Take care of your own health. Allow
yourself to take a break from care giving. It
is healthy for you and your loved one. To
care for someone you also need to care for
yourself. To care for yourself:
Get plenty of sleep.
Do quick stretches to help reduce
tension and maintain muscle tone.
Keep your faith.
Keep doing the things you enjoy.
Don’t forget to laugh.
Where could I go for more help?
Talk with a member of your health care
team if you are feeling any symptoms of
strain. Below is a list of resources that may
When Your Loved One’s Life Changes…
So Does YOURS.
Support Group at UW-Hospital G5/142
To sign up call Penny at 608-263-8574 or
Share the Care
Book by Cappy Caposseia and Sheila
Area Agency on Aging of Dane County
The National Family Caregivers Association
Read issues of Today’s Caregiver Magazine
Net of Care’s Information & Resources for
Family Caregiver Alliance
Bilingual information in Spanish, Chinese,
Korean and Vietnamese.
Family Caregiving 101
National Caregivers Library
Medicare Caregiver Information
You can also contact an organization
specific to your diagnosis to see what they
have to offer
ξ Rolland, J. S. (1994). In sickness and in health: The impact of illness on couples’ relationships. Journal of
Marital and Family Therapy, 20(4), 327.
ξ Novielli, K.D., & Mockus Parks, S. (2000). A practical guide to caring for caregivers. American Family
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6921