One of the most important things for a long-term caregiver to do is to arrange for him/herself a regular schedule of breaks from caregiving. For spousal caregivers, who have a different and more intense relationship with their ill spouse than other family caregivers do with their loved ones, it is doubly important.
These breaks, or respites, can be as little as taking 30 minutes or an hour a day for oneself to do an activity that has nothing to do with caregiving. For those who have retired to look after their spouse or partner, it is good to get out of the house (or hospital room) at least once a day, and it needn't be all about errands.
The Well Spouse® Association provides opportunities for supporting members to attend weekend respite events. Up to 20 or more well spouses attend these events and enjoy the opportunity to socialize and take in the attractions of the event locale. Many go once, then become regular attendees at respite events.