Laurie Owen: Hi, I am Laurie Owen from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I am talking about how to take care of yourself when you are a care giver. The demands of caring for a family member with Alzheimer disease or dementias can force you to focus all of your energy on his or her care. In fact research shows that many people start neglecting their own care when they are caring for others. A loss of self care can result in both physical and emotional stress. You may experience a loss of sleep, headaches and muscle aches, stomach problems, hair loss and weight fluctuations. Other symptoms include anxiety, depression, irritability and mood swings. Let's face it. If you are not feeling well, you won't be able to take care of anyone else. So what can you do to keep yourself healthy? Its three things, self care, staying connected with others, and relaxation. Self care means making sure you get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat well balanced meals and drink plenty of fluids. Also make sure you continue to get your regular medical checkups and preventative test. Research supports the idea that to stay physically and emotionally healthy, we need a strong social support network. Therefore, it is important that you build in time for the relationships that nurture you even if it's just a quick cup of coffee with a friend, a call to a loved one or maintaining spiritual or religious practices. Finally, there are many relaxation techniques that can help counter stress in our lives, for example breathing deeply a few times a day can reduce feelings of anxiety, and meditation and yoga are also excellent ways to reduce the feelings of stress related to care giving. By practicing a combination of good self care, staying connected with others and employing relaxation techniques, you go with distance as a care giver with less stress and more enjoyment.