Tips for Hospice Caregivers

Caring for someone at the end of life can be deeply rewarding, but it can also cause distress. If caregiver stress is not addressed, it can put your health at risk and can affect your ability to provide care. Most hospice caregivers experience feelings of frustration, isolation, and sadness at times, so take steps to ensure your own wellness.

Do you see any of these symptoms in yourself?

  • Loss of interest in friends, family, and activities
  • Feelings of sadness or depression
  • Feeling constantly fatigued or frequently getting sick
  • Trouble eating (too much or too little)
  • Difficulty sleeping (too much or too little)

Here are some tips to help you cope:

Take a break.

When you are overwhelmed, ask for, or hire, outside help so you can get away and recharge for a few hours. Give yourself permission to go to a movie, see friends, or simply take a walk outside.

Focus on what is important to you.

Find and connect with the meaning behind why you are doing all that you do.

Set limits on what you are able to do.

Make a list of daily priorities and keep your goals realistic.

Let others help you.

Accept help when it’s offered. Have a list of tasks available that others could easily do, like grocery shopping. Ask a family member, friend, or volunteer to help you spread status updates and coordinate with other family members on a regular basis (i.e., daily, weekly).

Talk about how you feel.

Reach out to friends, family, religious, and community organizations or join a support group. Ask your hospice team for recommendations in your area.

Take care of yourself.

Eat right, exercise, and rest. Avoid using alcohol, medications or drugs, cigarettes, or food to cope. Don’t skip medical appointments. Caregivers need to stay healthy to care for others.

The VNSNY Hospice Care team is here to support you and can coordinate resources for maintaining your health and wellness.