December 14th, 2018 | For Family Members
As our population ages, more caregiving is provided for aging parents.
Over the past several years, we have seen a dramatic increase in adults providing care for their spouses or aging parents. In fact, Mayo Clinic says 33% of adults provide such care. While your service to your family is rewarding, it can also bring stress – financial stress, lack of personal time, less energy and feeling overwhelmed.
The holiday season is a particularly stressful time for caregivers. Providing care to your loved one, your own family and yourself is a delicate balancing act. In your devoted effort to assist with another’s health, remember your own.
There are a wide variety of risk factors associated with caregiver stress:
- Social Isolation
- Financial Difficulties
- Struggling to provide care due to advancing Alzheimer’s, reduced physical abilities and other senior related health-issues.
When Caregiver Stress Becomes an Issue
Caregivers are often so focused on their loved ones that they forget to think about themselves, which leads to declining health, frustration, drug or alcohol abuse, and even worse.
Several Signs of Caregiver Stress, Caregiver Fatigue, or Burnout include:
- Feeling overwhelmed, tired, drained or exhausted (often called Caregiver Fatigue)
- Weight gain or loss
- Losing interest in activities and hobbies
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- Frequent headaches or pain
- Drug abuse, alcohol abuse or other substances (including prescriptions)
Over time, the effects of stress or caregiver fatigue have a huge effect on your overall well-being and health. On top of stress, fatigue, depression, or exhaustion, many caregivers do not get enough sleep, physical activity or eat right because they are so busy. This can even lead to future medical problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.
Here Are 8 Strategies To Reduce Caregiver Stress
While emotional stress and the physical stress associated with caregiving can be very taxing, simply taking advantage of the resources and tools available to you can help you better provide care and get the best resources for your loved ones. It’s important to remember - if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.
- Stay Connected with Others
Just sharing experiences can help caregivers manage fatigue and stress. It’s important to realize that you can also talk about your stresses with fellow caregivers, clergy, friends, family, and even Legend Senior Living associates.
- Seek and Accept Help from Others
Often, when individuals truly need support or assistance in these situations they stonewall rather than joining support networks to get the help they need. Support networks come from the community, online support, local groups and other professionals.
- Get Educated About Caregiver Fatigue and Caregiver Stress
Simply talking to medical staff about the available options during aging, declining health, and disease can make a lot of difference. Other options including Aging and Disability Resources Centers. Additionally, there are other programs in the community to talk to about aging adults and their caregivers.
- Find Respite and Relaxation
Getting a break for a few hours or days is always beneficial - whether it be in faith-based organization, a social organization or health club. Spend time on yourself.
- Practice Self-Care Regularly
Participate in enjoyable and relaxing activities! This could include social outings, hobbies, art or other creative activities. Sometimes reading, listening to music, watching a movie, or kicking back and relaxing can improve one’s frame of mind. Even 15 minutes a day for self-care make a world of difference.
Simply exercising and being active for just minutes every day improves mood, breathing, and provides a change of scenery. These exercise breaks change up a day’s hectic pace and revitalize the mind and reduces stress.
- Stay Healthy with a Regular Schedule
Stress causes people to lose sleep, overeat or under eat, increase alcohol consumption or even causing smoking and drug use. Using doctor’s checkups, regular sleep patterns, and healthy eating ensures a healthier lifestyle.
- Keep a Positive Perspective with Meditation and Other Tactics
Evidence supports meditation, breathing, and keeping a positive perspective as the best ways to avoid stress and better overall health. Staying grateful, reducing negative thoughts, and practicing breathing deeply are some of the fastest ways to find peace.
Learn more about Respite Care Services at Legend Senior Living
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