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By Caroline Clauss-Ehlers

Says Dr. Jeannette Maluf, bilingual psychologist at the NYU Medical Center, that for many Latinos, being a good daughter or son often means you have to do it all.

In reality, you cannot do it all, but you can get information. For instance, caregivers should contact the patient representative if their loved one is in the hospital. It is important to be informed and the patient representative may have support services such as an interpreter.

The last Nueva Edad talked about the impact that being a caregiver has on well-being and the great stress and anxiety that caregivers can experience. Today's focus is on what caregivers can do to take care of themselves when faced with taking care of others.

It is very important that caregivers sleep enough, eat well, and take vitamins to protect their health and maintain their immune system.

Caregivers also need to simplify their lives. It is important that you as a caregiver know you can't do it all and can't do it alone. Share your experiences and emotions with family members, friends, and when necessary, with a professional. Do not be shy to ask for help. Even if it's only for a short time, a break or extra pair of hands can alleviate stress and pressure. Part of this involves delegating obligations. If you assign different tasks to different people, in effect, you share the burden of care.

Finally, laughter is the best medicine. Research shows that when under difficult times of stress, laughter helps build the immune system. Watch comedies and funny movies-laughter and smiling create a positive physical reaction in the body.

This column is educational. It does not substitute for formal medical advice. Do not use this information without talking with a qualified professional.

Send your questions to Nueva Edad/Hoy, 330 West 34St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Or call at (212) 462-9464
Or write to

Copyright 2004, Used with permission from Hoy.

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