Managing Caregiver Stress
By Cheri Platte, Managing Director, Circle of Care Home Care
If not managed, caregiving can be physically and emotionally draining for caregivers. Let’s face it, at times it can be challenging enough for any of us to manage our own affairs, let alone being a caregiver responsible for an aging loved one. Especially if that person has a disease such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or some other unique situation. Caregiver stress can result in sleepless nights wondering wondering how you’re going to manage your affairs, your patients or loved ones affairs, and even what would happen if you were to stop caring for them.
If you’re a family caregiver or a hired professional, you understand what it means to almost always be “on-call”, or providing care that consumes your days and weekends. For those who also have immediate families to look after, you may have little left for “personal” time to mingle with other family members or friends.
Caregiving can be exhausting to one’s body and soul, but it is also very rewarding at the same time. No one knows this better than Circle of Care, where “caring is our way of life”. Caring for someone else feels good, and the time spent together with them can make your bond or relationship stronger. While all of this is true, a caregiver must take care of themselves as well and learn to manage caregiver stress and avoid burnout. There are many signs of caregiver stress. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Feeling tired
- Not getting enough sleep or getting too much of it
- Feeling sad and overwhelmed
- Having headaches and migraines along with other physical issues
Too much stress, if left unchecked over a long period, can be harmful to your health. It is crucial to make sure you do something about it and find techniques to managing caregiver stress before it becomes a problem. Here are 5 tips to help you manage caregiver stress.
1. Make sure to accept help from your friends and family
It might be hard for some, but it is absolutely okay to say yes to help offered by your family and friends. Sometimes, it is helpful to have a conversation with someone we love; it can help us figure things out. Make an effort to stay well-connected with your family and friends who can help and give you emotional support.
Many times caregivers forget just how vital sleep and rest is for their health. Stress is one of the biggest reasons one cannot rest properly, and caregiving tends to encourage this particular issue. Respite care or a break is critical when it comes to caring for someone with diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
You must set goals to establish a good sleep routine or even a routine where you can take mini naps during your caregiving time. Most caregivers struggle with sleep, and if the issue lingers for an extended time, then it’s time to visit your doctor and find a solution for it.
3. Support Groups
Joining a support group can prove to be helpful as people understand what you may be going through. They can help provide validation and encouragement and help you get through tough times.
Also, many meaningful friendships emerge from the support group, which could help you destress every day. It is easier to get along with people when they are experiencing the same issues as you, and they remind you that you are not alone. Sometimes our family and friends do not understand the ordeal a caregiver goes through, which is where support groups come in handy.
One of the most tried and tested ways of overcoming stress is exercise. Staying physically active does wonders to your mental health. It does not matter if it’s a short daily walk or 30 push-ups a day; any exercise has a positive impact on your health. By staying fit, one can feel fit.
Caregivers tend to have extended hours attending to those in need, which is why even a 15-minute walk every day is a great energy booster that helps you to encounter your stress positively and is a key technique in managing caregiver stress.
5. Respite Care
When you look after someone, it can be very time consuming. Respite care is a service that steps in giving the caregiver a well deserved break to look after their own health. Caregivers need time to rest, relax, go on vacations or handle other family affairs. Professional Respite services provide your loved ones with safe reliable care while giving the primary caregiver peace of mind while away.
As challenging as your situation may be, you must take care of yourself while attending to your loved ones. Caregiver stress can be extremely harmful to both you and the loved one you’re taking care of. At Circle of Care, we provide professional Respite care services to help mange caregiver stress. Contact us today and get a no-hassle consultation.
CIRCLE OF CARE, LLC
Cheri Platte has been a home care expert and professional consultant for family caregivers, and a compassionate advocate for the elderly, for over 20 years. As the Managing Director for Circle of Care, her focus is on the development of resources that support families who care for their loved ones and to provide individual home care solutions.
Her mission is to educate the public on the benefits of home care and home health, assist families in developing individual care plans, and help them plan for the advanced stages of aging. Circle of Care has a staff of over 100 caregivers who are skilled, compassionate and for over 20 years have served the community on a word-of-mouth referral basis. They are trusted by families, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospitals, nursing homes and senior communities. When not helping families in need, Cheri spends time volunteering at various organizations as well as spending time with her family and friends.