4. Challenge: “It’s hard to always be the bearer of bad news.” Many caregivers serve as the information pipeline to family and friends, as well as having to convey or re-state health information to the person for whom they’re caring. “Having to deliver bad news creates an unnecessary layer of stress,” says James Huysman, a licensed clinical social worker, editor of Today’s Caregiver magazine and founder of LeezasPlace.org, a network for caregivers.

Solution: Pick another point person. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, you shouldn’t be the messenger. For example, if your father can’t drive anymore, the doctor or optometrist should tell him,” says Huysman. Rather than serving as the central information hub for your family, ask that another relative be the point person or hire a health advocate, eldercare mediator, social worker or geriatric care manager to help manage affairs and disseminate information.

5. Challenge: “My joints and muscles hurt more now that I am a caregiver.” Caregiving can involve physically demanding tasks, such as helping a disabled person sit or stand, or supporting him as he walks. Even if you don’t do this kind of heavy lifting, you’re probably on your feet more – running up and down stairs more often or otherwise being more active. Plus, stress can increase inflammation, which worsens arthritis pain and stiffness.

Solution: Get more help from the person you’re caring for. Have her do as much as she’s able, even if she can’t do it perfectly or it takes three times as long. “Many people think it’s best to do everything for the person they’re helping when in fact the opposite is true. Not allowing them to do for themselves creates what’s called ‘excess disability,’ because it decreases their abilities and self-esteem faster than normal,” explains Robinson.

When you’re doing physical tasks, such as lifting or carrying, make sure to engage your large muscles (think biceps and quads) to help take the strain off your joints. Carrying a bucket of water from the kitchen sink to the living room floor? Hold the handle with one hand, and put your other arm beneath the bucket to support the weight.