Photo of a man in white shirt showing phone to a man in a yellow sweatshirt on a graphic that says Caregiver Tips and Suggestions below it

By Bob Lujano, NCHPAD Expert Inclusion Specialist

Being a caregiver does not mean that you must now sacrifice your health. If you have recently added the responsibility of being a caregiver for a spouse, parent, or other family or friend, please take time to take care of your own health as well.

My wife has recently become the main caregiver of my mother-in-law, but I also share many of those same responsibilities. As a person with a disability, I also have some secondary health conditions, so it’s extremely important that I pay extra attention to my health – and my wife’s health as well.

Here are some ways that I stay healthy as a caregiver:  

Me time.

Once you have made the important decision to be a caregiver, make the same commitment to have some time for yourself. There is nothing wrong with having some ME time. It is this me time that can help you become a better caregiver.


This first step is very important when you become a caregiver. Set up a daily schedule for caregiving, and schedule a time of day for meals, exercise, sleep and activities. This can help you stay organized in order to schedule that me time.  

Accountability person.

An accountability person is someone who can cover your responsibilities as a caregiver AND check in on you. Make sure you have a backup person who can take over your responsibilities, even if it’s just an hour or two! And have regular conversations with your accountability person ensure that you are taking care of yourself.

I am that accountability person for my wife. I help her out by preparing meals and taking her to dinner. I also encourage her to take time for herself while I take care of her mother. We also play tennis and go swimming together to get some exercise and de-stress from work.

Sleep and rest.

If you have taken care of young children, do you remember the suggestion of sleeping when the child sleeps? I definitely do! This is a good suggestion for caregivers, too. There’s nothing wrong with scheduling your own sleep, naps and rest time along with the person you are providing care for. Artificial intelligence (AI) devices such as an Alexa can help with scheduling naps and activities. For people with disabilities, these devices are accessible and voice-activated.

Your health is just as important! Follow these tips and learn more about additional caregiver resources below!

Additional Caregiver Resources

NCHPAD Connect links you to free resources, communities and wellness programs specifically tailored to people with a wide range of physical disabilities. Here’s what you should know.

NCHPAD Connect

NCHPAD Connect is a valuable resource that can help you and the person you are caring for to stay healthy and well.

  • Personalized resource recommendations: NCHPAD Connect can recommend health and wellness resources tailored to the specific needs of the person you care for. This can be a huge time-saver for caregivers, as it can be difficult to know where to start looking for inclusive health and wellness resources.
  • Free, online programs: NCHPAD Connect offers a variety of free health and wellness programs that focus on mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, diet and weight management. These programs can help caregivers and the people they care for to stay healthy and manage any secondary conditions.
  •  Expert Inclusion Specialists (EIS): NCHPAD Expert Inclusion Specialists (EIS), including Bob Lujano and Cara Riggins, provide access to free, personalized resources and programs to anyone who needs them! Learn more about Cara in our recent blog.

Additional Articles

Care for Caregivers 


Being a Caregiver 


Stirring ingredients to make delicious soups, sauces and healthy meals can be easy with these tools and tips!

These universal tips and tools support safe and accessible food preparation while you are stirring in the kitchen. Watch the video below or keep reading to learn more:

  1. Accessible kitchen levels. Try to bring your bowl to a lower level. You could use a lower table or even your lap!
  2. Bowl stabilizer. A bowl stabilizer can go under any bowl to make it nonslip. Place the tool under the bowl to keep it steady while stirring.
  3. Automatic stirrer. Place an automatic stirrer in a pan or a pot and turn it on. It will be begin to automatically rotate!
  4. Hand mixer. A hand mixer, which is a hand-held blender with attachments, is optimized to whisk, mince, and in this case, shred!
  5. Immersion blender. An immersion blender can be used to whisk eggs, mix pancakes, or even puree soup! The head is interchangeable with attachments that can purée.
ADA Header

The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA was a huge win for human rights. It bans discrimination against people with disabilities across all public areas of life, including jobs, schools, transportation, restaurants and more. This law was only passed in 1990, but it’s set the groundwork for future social changes regarding access.

And every July is an opportunity to reflect on the history that got us here and assess the work that’s still necessary. Watch our video we created in 2021 to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the passage of the ADA – or keep reading below to learn more.

Three important milestones have happened since the ADA passed on July 26, 1990.

The first is the 1990 Capitol Crawl. At this point, the ADA had passed the Senate but stalled for several months with a congressional committee. Thousands of fed-up activists gathered outside of the Capitol building to begin their protest with the Wheels of Justice Campaign.

People left their walkers, wheelchairs and crutches to crawl the 78 marble stairs of the U.S. Capitol’s west front. The following day, over 100 people were arrested for refusing to leave. This protest brought attention, political, pressure and urgency for the signing of the ADA, which passed four months later.

The next milestone was the Olmstead Act in 1999. Two women with mental illness and developmental disabilities were professionally deemed fit to transition from institutional state hospitals to a community-based program. Community care would provide better support in addition to daily living skills. In this case, and many cases like this, the transition was indefinitely postponed, and the women remained in hospitals for several years after the request. After a lawsuit was filed under the ADA, the women were eventually placed in community care.

Forcing a person to remain in an institution when community care is more appropriate was now legally considered discriminatory, unjustified segregation – and a violation of civil rights. This Supreme Court decision broadened the ADA to include mental illness as a disability. That now meant protecting rights, freeing thousands and allowing a healthier alternative for families in need of assistance.

The third milestone occurred with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. There were many cases where the Supreme Court limited who could identify as a person with a disability under the ADA. This left many people legally unprotected and exposed to discrimination. After years of cases like these, disability and business communities joined to work on the language for a new standard. The clarified laws were introduced in July and signed by September. These amendments restored legal intent and pushed to further submit Congress’s stance. It
made disability much more inclusive and now protects a lot more people.

The hope is that our laws will continue to evolve and support the rights of all people with disabilities at every intersection.

Want to learn even more? Check out our video playlist from the ADA’s 25th anniversary.