As a caregiver for a stroke survivor, it is easy to forget to take care of yourself and manage your own health. National Stroke Association has developed the STARS program with support from a Charitable Contribution from the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals Partnership. STARS stands for Steps Against Recurrent Stroke and is a program that focuses on ways to reduce the risk of a recurrent stroke in your stroke survivor.

Take Care of Yourself!
You may become so preoccupied with caring for your loved one that you forget your own needs. Taking care of yourself does not have to take a lot of time or money. Here are a few ideas:
Take an occasional break from caregiving (use respite or adult day services or if finances prohibit paying for a break ask for help from family, friends or community organizations). To read more tips, visit www.stroke.org/CARE .

Take time out for yourself: something as simple as enjoying a cup of tea or coffee, reading a book or watching a movie while your survivor is napping or has gone to bed can provide some relaxation.

Join a support group. Find a local support group in your area by visiting www.stroke.org/support_groups .

Try journaling: reserve some time for writing by getting up early or going to bed after your survivor — this can be a great way to begin or end your day. For more information about the power of journal therapy, visit www.stroke.org/SS_MAG_ma2008_care .

Be sure to get enough sleep, eat well and keep your own doctor visits to make sure you stay healthy and manage your risk factors .

For more information, contact the National Family Caregivers Association
at (800) 896-3650 or http://www.nfcacares.org/

and

National Stroke Association at
(800) STROKES or www.stroke.org .

Sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals