University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR6001

Stress from Caregiving 1

Rebecca McGovney and Suzanna Smith2

Figure 1. 
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As caregiving for the elderly continues to increase in the future, almost everyone will either care for or know someone who's caring for an elderly relative. Adult caregivers can find the task exhausting and overwhelming, taking a toll on their physical and emotional health.

Experts say it's important to remember to take care of yourself first. Eat nutritious meals and get enough sleep. Exercise often and get regular medical checkups. If you begin to experience symptoms of depression, such as deep sadness, hopelessness, or having trouble concentrating, speak to a doctor right away.

When possible, involve other family members in the caregiving process. Make a list of things that need to be done, including household chores, paying bills, shopping, home repairs, and more. Also, ask friends and family to help by giving you a break to take time for yourself. Some communities have respite programs that give caregivers a few hours off to do things like shop, exercise, and attend special events.

The quality of care you provide can only improve with the quality of care you provide for yourself!

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR6001, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 040 and published November 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Rebecca McGovney, master's student, and Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and executive producer, Family Album Radio, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.