Anxiety Burnout Overwhelm

Mental Health Tips for Caregivers

Caregiving is a demanding role that can take a toll on one's mental health. In fact, a 2020 AARP research report found that nearly 40% of U.S. caregivers experience high levels of stress in their caregiving roles. The challenges are even more pronounced for primary or family caregivers of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Here are some mental health tips to help caregivers navigate this challenging journey.

  1. Recognize the signs of caregiver stress. Due to their daily tasks, caregivers often experience depression and anxiety in addition to stress. Recognizing these signs is the first step toward taking charge of your wellbeing. Symptoms may include feeling overwhelmed, sleep issues and irritability.

  2. Take regular breaks. Caregivers should adopt the following mantra: "Make regular appointments with yourself." Whether it's 10 minutes of deep breathing or a 20-minute walk, regular breaks are essential for mental and physical wellbeing.

  3. Seek help from others. Don't hesitate to spread out responsibilities among family and friends. Ask a neighbor to pick up groceries or share cooking duties with a partner or sibling. 

  4. Nourish your physical health. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting adequate sleep are not negotiable. Good physical health contributes to good mental health, and everyone needs both to function properly. Plus, practicing these habits will make you a better caregiver for your loved one. 

  5. Stay socially connected. You might feel like withdrawing at times, but social connections are crucial for our mental wellbeing. So, take some time to engage in activities that make you feel connected and happy.

  6. Set boundaries. It’s okay to admit that you’re human. Learn when to say "no" and set limits to protect your mental health. It’s important for self-care. 
  7. Join support groups. Online or in-person support groups can offer education and emotional support, helping you feel less lonely in your caregiving journey. You may even make new connections with people who share similar experiences.
  8. Seek out community assistance. Look for community resources like adult daycare programs, meal programs and mental health services (for you or your loved one). These can provide additional support and a much-needed break from your normal routine. 

Special Considerations for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Caregiving for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities often involves unique challenges, such as managing behavioral issues and coordinating with special education services. It's crucial to educate yourself about the specific needs and rights of your loved one and seek specialized support services and training.

Get the Support You Need From Envision Unlimited

If you or a loved one is struggling to cope with the challenges of caregiving, we can help. Since 1948, Envision Unlimited has been dedicated to helping people with disabilities and their caregivers live happy, fulfilled lives in their communities. In addition to our day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, residential, and employment services, we also offer in-home respite services. Our program provides families with a trained individual who can spend time with their loved one, allowing them to catch up on relaxation and regular daily activities. Families are typically eligible to receive up to 180 hours of respite services each year. 

We believe that all individuals are capable of living successful lives if given the right opportunities. If you are a caregiver needing some respite, contact us today at to see how we can help YOU!