If you are under 21 and caring for a family member or friend with health needs, you are not alone. It can be hard work. It may cause you to miss school, social events, sleep and may even make it hard to maintain friendships.
You are not alone. There are millions of kids all over the world being a caregiver.
Other kids like you help family members take medication, get dressed, go to the bathroom, do the shopping, make meals, and stay at home to help out.
Understand there are resources out there to help. Places to look:
• the hospital or clinic where you family member goes for care
• your local church or place of worship
• school counselor
• a trusted adult
• health organizations like the American Cancer Society, Diabetes Association or Alzheimer’s Association. Use this link to find a chapter of an organization where you live.
• your local library
Taking care of someone is stressful. Follow these tips to take care of yourself
• Learn about the health condition your family member is living with
• Stay in school, study as much as you can, ask for help
• Be aware of the signs of stress- Very tired; sleeping more than usual; easily crying; eating less; feeling sad; not enjoying life; panic attacks; resenting family members or friends; stomach problems
• Reduce stress
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night
- Eat a well rounded diet, stay away from junk food, eat breakfast
- Listen to music
- Exercise use the gym at school, walk, run, play
- Talk to someone, such as a parent, friend, an adult you trust
- Remember that your best is more than good enough, so relax
- Join a support group
- Make time to do something you like
- Get help if you need it
• Read Treasure Talk: The Caregiving Youth Project Newsletter, which can also be e-mailed directly to you
• Keep a journal and write about your feelings.
• A fun way to learn more ways to caring for your body and mind is the BAM website
• Take a pass on the alcohol and drugs. They only make more problems.
Help is often just a phone call or e-mail away. Ask for it
American Association of Caregiving Youth
Camp Building Bridges
Caregiving Youth Project
Treasure Talk: Newsletter for Caregiving Youth