Whether they live at home or in a senior living facility, many seniors need caregivers to help support them as they maintain independent lifestyles. Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but there are times when it can also be challenging. If you’re a caregiver for a senior, it’s important to have a support system that can help you. Stress can happen quickly as a caregiver for a loved one and can result in depression, fatigue, social isolation, and even financial strain. Even if you don’t recognize any symptoms of caregiver stress, it’s important to start now to build a support system to take care of yourself while taking care of the senior in your life. Find a support group. These days, there are several places to find support from other caregivers, both in person and in online groups. Staying connected with others who are in the same situation can help you feel more secure about the choices you make. You can even build lasting friendships with people you connect with. Look for support groups at organizations like the AARP or through government agencies like the US Administration on Aging. Be realistic. Sometimes we overwhelm ourselves by committing more time and resources that we can fit into the time we have. This is especially true of caregivers. Be realistic about what you can provide and how much time you have available before making commitments. For example, you might have time to bring a casserole, but don’t commit yourself to organize a large luncheon if you don’t have the time. Get emotional support. Friends and family are the resources to turn to for emotional support, so be sure to stay connected so you don’t isolate yourself socially. Make time to nurture these relationships for your mutual benefit. Avoid the guilt trap. There are things you can and cannot do as a caregiver for a loved one, so be sure you don’t get trapped into feeling guilty. Whether it comes from outside sources or internally, it’s easy to begin to feel guilty about things you don’t do. Instead, celebrate the help you are able to give your senior loved one and know that you are doing your best. Stay healthy. Don’t let your own health go to the wayside. Keep up with a healthy diet and exercise so your body stays healthy. You can only help others when you’re as strong as you can be, both physically and mentally. Being a caregiver is a rewarding experience that will benefit you for a lifetime, but it’s important to also take care of yourself. And when it’s time for the senior in your life to consider moving to a senior living facility, connect with our expert senior care professionals at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Ashbridge Manor’s facilities and fun recreational programs are designed to provide a healthy, active lifestyle in a friendly, caring community. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special! Ashbridge Manor is a safe, COVID-free senior living community.