The realities of being a caregiver.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015, 43.5 million family members, friends or neighbors helped care for someone 50 or over. While caring for a parent or loved one can have many rewards, caregivers may also experience occasional feelings of anger, frustration, exhaustion, loneliness or sadness.
If caregivers don’t care for themselves, they won’t be able to take care of anyone else. That’s why it’s important to find and take advantage of area resources to help ease the burden. Stephanie Boyer, a certified nursing assistant and med tech supervisor at Green Hills Manor, offers the following insights.
Caregiver stress can be hard to spot.
If caregivers become too focused on their loved one, they might not realize their own health and well-being are suffering.
What are the common signs of caregiver stress?
- Feeling tired and run down
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- New or worsening health problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling increasingly resentful
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medication
- Smoking more than usual
- A sudden weight gain or loss
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Frequent headaches, body pain or physical problems
What are the common signs of caregiver burnout?
- Much less energy than usual
- High susceptibility to catching colds or the flu
- Constant exhaustion, even after sleeping or taking a break
- Neglecting their own needs
- Trouble relaxing, even when help is available
- Increasing impatience and irritability with the person they’re caring for
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
Relieving caregiver stress.
When caregivers don’t take time off to regularly relieve stress and recharge their batteries, they could end up getting less done in the long run. Taking a short break should help them feel more energetic, focused and productive.
What are some ways to manage caregiver stress?
- Ask for and/or accept help
- Join a caregiver support group
- Make to-do lists, and set a daily routine
- Take time to do enjoyable activities
- Be physically active, choose healthy foods and get enough sleep
- See a doctor for regular checkups
- Try yoga or other daily relaxation and meditation practices
- Maintain friendships
- Set up a regular time to talk with a family member or friend
- Spread the responsibilities
- Consider either in-home respite care, adult day care or a Personal Care Community
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and thinking of moving your loved one to a senior living community, you can read how one daughter overcame her caregiver guilt and discovered how personal care helped her mother flourish.
You can also fill out the Contact Us form on this page or call us at 484.577.3515 to discuss your options in more depth.