By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion

QUESTION: Dear Doctor Marion,

I am a caregiver for my sister who is seven years older than I am. Her life and her needs are overriding my life. How to do it all seems beyond me, so any advice you can send me is great. Kerry in Alabama

ANSWER: When you're a caregiver, time becomes extremely precious, and your personal needs are often put on the back burner. This is not acceptable, Kerry. I can't stress enough that you must have a rest from the constant demands of your sister who needs your help and attention.

A two-week vacation would be great, but caregiving time constraints usually make that impossible. Instead, try taking periodic "mini-vacations" that last three or four days. They can be refreshing and restful and take you away from your caregiving pressures. This approach also allows you to recharge your battery so you are better prepared to meet all of the various aspects of your caregiving challenge.

©2006 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.