Free Caregiver Resources and Printables to Help Prevent Burnout
Some of the merchants listed in this blog pay us a commission when you make product purchases using the links we provide.
Chances are, even if you’re not a caregiver yourself, you know someone who is. Today, more than 1 in 5 Americans (21.3%) are caregivers who have provided care to someone with illness or disabilities at some time in the past 12 months. While 51% of caregivers feel their role has given them a sense of purpose, 21% of them also report experiencing physical and emotional strain.
These are the more than 50 million Americans who take on the sometimes thankless role of comforting an aging parent, looking after a friend living with an illness or disability, or helping a neighbor with household chores.
When you’re taking care of others, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. We put together a list of the best caregiver resources for people taking care of people with special needs.
Printable Daily Checklist
Tips for Self-Care and Setting Boundaries
Support Groups and Hotlines
Online Certification and Other Courses
Discounts and Freebies
Printable Daily Log Template
Printable Self-Care Tracker
Caregiver Daily Checklist Template
As a caregiver, you manage some of the most important day-to-day activities of the person you’re taking care of — eating, giving medicines and bathing, just to name a few. Trying to remember what you’ve done and what you haven’t adds a layer of pressure and can cause your brain to feel overloaded.
To avoid unneeded stress, we suggest keeping track of all activities using a checklist. Doing this will help you stay organized and reduce any unwanted stress. To help, print out our caregiver schedule template below. Print out a copy for each day of the week and monitor your daily caregiving activities.
5 Tips for Self-Care and Setting Boundaries
If you’ve ever been on a plane, you’ll know that one of the main rules in case of emergency is to wear your oxygen mask before attempting to help others. Similarly, as a caregiver, you need to help yourself before the person you’re taking care of.
First, understand when you need to focus more on self-care. Compassion fatigue specialist Françoise Mathieu suggests that caregivers should assess the level of compassion fatigue. Use the ProQOL (Professional Quality of Life), which measures this and other conditions like work satisfaction and burnout. Use this tool to understand the negative and positive effects of you helping others.
Caregivers often struggle to take care of their own health. The most common problems caregivers report are poor sleeping, exercising and eating habits. Studies have identified ways caregivers can take care of themselves to better help others. Here are some of the top ways you can work self-care into your life:
Prioritize your relationships
Keep a healthy lifestyle (enough sleep, regular exercise and time for vacations)
Cultivate hobbies and recreational activities
Practice mindfulness and meditation
To accompany this, we created a self-care checklist to help you reduce the likelihood of stress and burnout. Print and hang it in a place you will see every day when you wake up. Use this self-exploration tool to reflect on your life balance and self-care. Every day, ask yourself if you did something to meet each dimension, and identify ways you can improve.
Caregiver Support Groups and Hotlines
Surrounding yourself with a community who understands your situation is an important key to your own wellbeing. Seek the comfort of others by joining a support group. This presents you with an opportunity to share your thoughts and get advice from fellow caregivers. Look for a support group that is specific to your situation, like caregivers looking after people with strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer or AIDS.
Despite the available resources, only 6 in 10 caregivers go online to find support, often due to time constraints. Today, online support groups make it easy to get help without even leaving your home. This is a viable solution if you find it hard to find a gap in your schedule.
Here are some popular support groups:
Caregivers Connect: 5,000+ members; general caregiver support
Caregiver Support Community: 2,000+ members; general caregiver support (required to share your story upon joining)
Memory People: 24,000+ members; Alzheimer’s/dementia support
Working Daughter: 4,000+ members; parent caregiver support
Free Caregiver Certification Online and Other Courses
Often, caregivers are thrust into the role with very little warning or preparation, and that can feel overwhelming and scary. If you don’t know where to start, look for a free caregiver training program or free caregiver certification online that guides you through different topics related to caregiving.
When you attend courses and training sessions, you’ll also find other caregivers who are willing to share tips and resources. There are various paid courses geared toward professional caregivers, but here are several free online caregiver courses for family and friend caregivers:
Powerful Tools for Caregiving: Through these weekly online courses, learn a variety of self-care strategies to reduce stress, manage emotions, communicate effectively with family and healthcare providers, and make tough caregiving decisions.
Advance Learning: Understand essential therapeutic exercise techniques required for patients that require therapy.
CareAcademy: Through this quick 30-minute “Essential Skills for Family Caregivers” course, learn about infection control, nutrition, communication, senior transportation, self-care and burnout.
CareAware: Learn caregiving tips from experts and experienced caregivers through this six-part video series that also presents discussion questions and additional resources to explore.
Generations Home Care: Follow along with more than 40 hours of interactive training, including a comprehensive section dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Home Sweet Home Care Inc.: Access more than 40 hours of training centered around how to take care of senior loved ones: everything from memory loss and aging to handling difficult situations and promoting independence. (Editor’s tip: Check out these 45 free smartphone apps for promoting senior independence.)
Love 2 Live: Explore a variety of professionally designed online courses on many different topics: communicating effectively, understanding senior rights, promoting healthy nutrition and hydration habits, administering emergency first aid, promoting mobility and more.
University of Cape Town: Learn how best to care for, educate and empower children living with intellectual disabilities in this 14-hour course called “Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability: Circles of Care and Education.”
University of Colorado: Improve your empathy and communication skills with those who are experiencing significant suffering through this palliative care course that includes several real-life examples.
University of Pennsylvania: In this course called “Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us,” learn about the normal ranges and variants of heart rates, blood pressures, body temperatures, and respiration rates and how to measure them in others.
Discounts and Freebies
are among the major causes of stress for caregivers. But self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. We put together a list of the best discounts, offers and coupons you can use to make your caregiver role less stressful.
Intuit coupon: Financial tracking apps are the most used technological tool by caregivers, with 35% of them using one. Start tracking your finances with Intuit.
Kind Snacks coupon: Nutrition is key to having enough energy throughout the day. Order some tasty and cheap power snacks from Kind Snack.
Vitamin Shoppe coupon: Vitamins are important nutrients you should include in your diet. Get discounted multivitamins using our coupons.
HelloFresh coupon: Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or boring. Use HelloFresh to avoid grocery shopping and meal planning when you’re running out of time.
The Oil Diffusery coupon: Essential oils have healing properties and can help reduce stress and decrease blood pressure. If you’re new to aromatherapy, save on the first scents you order by using our coupons.
Alo Yoga coupon: Regular exercise will help you get energy and motivation. If you can’t join a gym or attend yoga classes, get some discounted gear to start right from your home.
Dutch Bros. Coffee coupon: A coffee break is a cheap and quick way to reset your brain. Check out Dutch Bros. Coffee to save on your next cup.
Book Outlet coupon: Reading is a cheap way to calm down after a stressful day and it can reduce stress up to 68%. Find your next favorite novel on Book Outlet.
Amazon coupons: A self-help book will give you the motivation you need to start your day. Browse Amazon to find good deals.
Audiobooks coupon: Listening to an audiobook is an even easier way to take a mental break. Save on a novel using a coupon from Audiobooks.com.
Coursera coupon: Starting a hobby is one of the best ways to free your mind and cope with stress. Check out Coursera for deals on courses covering just about anything.
Yankee Candle coupon: Lighting a candle is a quick way to de-stress and improve your mood. Get discounted signature candles to give your home your favorite scent.
Target coupons: Cleaning your home is not only necessary but can also help you feel less anxious and overwhelmed. Use our Target coupons to stock up on cleaning or home storage supplies you may need.
F: Watching a movie is an easy way to relax after a long day. Check out our top free mental health streaming services.
Senior discounts: Caring for seniors can get expensive. Use our handy discounts, and explore our guide to how seniors can eat healthy meals on a budget.
F: Taking care of a person with physical or mental impairments can get difficult. Look for places that offer free stuff, and read our guide to online shopping for people with disabilities.
Caregiver Daily Log Template
Caregiving can be tough emotionally and physically, but certain tools can better equip you for the job. When the days seem to blend together and you can’t remember when your loved one last took a nap or what medication needs to be taken next, keeping a daily log will come in handy.
In addition to our daily checklist, check out this printable daily log template to track more specific information on how your loved one is doing over time and be sure you never forget a medicine or meal. Use our printable log to keep track of important sleep, food, health and exercise information. Print out enough copies for each day of the week and put together a binder with your daily updates.
Caregiver Self-Care Tracker
Keep track of how you’re feeling each day and visualize your entire year. That way, you can determine if you’re just going through a rough patch right now or if you’ve been feeling down for a while. Similarly, you can pinpoint why you’re feeling a certain way.
Using this 365-day self-care tracker, assign a color to each of the common caregiver feelings in the key and shade in the appropriate color each day based on how you’re feeling. After a couple of months, you’ll have a good idea of how your emotions are progressing.
If you don’t have time to complete an entire course on caregiving, you might try exploring some resources for basic information or watching a video or two. Check out these additional resources on everything from managing medications and using a bedpan correctly to combating senior loneliness and developing a balanced nutrition plan.
American Cancer Society: Explore the organization’s caregiver support video series for short, easy-to-understand explanations of medication management, drain care and cancer’s side effects.
AARP: Browse the organization’s how-to video series and learn more about how to operate medical equipment like nebulizers and mechanical lifts, build a healthy diet, manage incontinence, treat certain skin tears and wounds, manage medications and prepare your home for safe mobility.
Caregiver Action Network: Choose a video on general care or one about specific diseases and disorders like Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and COPD.
Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA): If you like digestible videos (about one hour each), check out these webinars that cover legal and financial issues, daily care and caregiver self-care, among other topics. There are new webinars added regularly.
Hospice of the Western Reserve: Explore the nonprofit’s YouTube channel for demonstrations on how to care for those who are bed-bound.
Morningside Ministries: Learn from geriatric psychologists, medical experts and elder law attorneys about a variety of topics from senior loneliness and music therapy to medication management and estate planning best practices.
Partners on the Path: For the times you feel discouraged or need a little bit of a boost, check out this seven-part video series called “Caring for the Caregiver.”
University of Nevada: Check out the university’s Geriatric Education Series and its “Advance Care Planning” video for information about living wills, advance directives, hospice, end of life care services, and “do not resuscitate” and “do not intubate” orders, among other topics.
Visiting Nurse Service of New York: Explore step-by-step videos on making your home safer for senior loved ones, making your loved one feel comfortable and safe, and ensuring that your loved ones’ end-of-life wishes are carried out.
Advance Learning: Identify the symptoms of various dementias and explore best practices for communicating with and caring for those living with them.
Alzheimer’s Association: Learn what to expect as you care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias with courses and videos focused on legal and financial planning, communication strategies, healthy living and the latest scientific research.
Johns Hopkins University: Gain a theoretical and practical understanding of how to care for those living with dementia through the “Living with Dementia: Impact on Individuals, Caregivers, Communities and Societies” course, which includes five modules, each lasting about three to five hours.
UCLA Health: Browse a comprehensive collection of videos based on different behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias, such as aggressive language, refusal to bathe, repetitive questions or phone calls, and sleep disturbances. The videos are available in English or Spanish and subtitled in French, Korean, Vietnamese, Hungarian and Macedonian.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health: Check out the Caregivers Video Series, which includes short videos about communication, maintaining intimacy, prioritizing self-care and other topics.
Administration for Community Living: Find caregiver support groups, respite providers and other services for caregivers.
Essential Self-Care for Caregivers and Helpers: Check out this book that was written for the millions of untrained non-professionals who are being recruited daily to care for their elderly parents.
Next Step in Care: Whether you’re a health care provider or a family caregiver, get practical advice and easy-to-use guides that focus on transitions between nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and home.
Caregiver Stress Check: Try this short quiz from the Alzheimer’s Association to get a list of personalized resources.
Family Caregiver Handbook: Check out this PDF meant to support unpaid caregivers.
Everyone’s caregiving situation is a little different, but, at the same time, every caregiver also shares many of the same experiences — whether it’s the inspiring act of caring for someone who once cared for you or the frustration and guilt that can bubble up when you say something you didn’t mean to someone you love.
Know that there are plenty of online caregiver resources out there when you need a helping hand. (Editor’s tip: Looking for a fun activity with your loved one to break up the monotony of being at home? Explore these ways to decorate your small space with plants, volunteer virtually or bring home a new furry friend to keep you company. Don’t forget these PetSmart coupons and deals for potential savings.)
We hope that you found this blog helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, financial or mental health advice. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional. Capital One Shopping does not endorse or guarantee any information or recommendation listed above.