Elderly caregiver stress is more common than you might think.
And most caregivers for seniors may not even be aware that they already have it.
Most of the time, they just know that they’re tired and spent. And despite taking breaks, the fatigue doesn’t go away.
So today we will discuss what elderly caregiver stress is.
Individuals neglect their physical or emotional health to care for a sick or disabled loved one.
And it's usually accompanied by a sudden shift in attitude, from positively caring to unconcerned.
There are several causes of caregiver stress.
Some find it challenging to set the boundaries between their roles as caregivers and family members.
Others often set unrealistic expectations, refusing to ask for help and thinking they can do all the work.
Or it's hard for them to keep up with the many tasks that come with caregiving.
Unfortunately, most of them don't recognize they suffer from elderly caregiver stress and burnout.
Some warning symptoms include feeling physically and emotionally drained with what they do.
They're more likely to feel irritable. Or they become uninterested and unmotivated with other activities outside of work.
Caregivers experiencing this are more likely to experience emotional eating or appetite loss. It then results in unhealthy weight gain or weight loss.
Some even have sudden weight changes and shifts in sleeping patterns.
Caregiving is often associated with harmful health effects.
Caregiver stress statistics show that 40 to 70% of caregivers suffer from depression and anxiety.
As their response to ongoing stress, caregivers are shown to have increased substance use and alcohol.
Further, research shows they use psychotropic and prescription drugs more than non-caregivers.
And this chronic stress also leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, and a compromised immune system.
As soon as we notice the symptoms of elderly caregiver stress, the next step is knowing how we manage it.
The following tips can help you avoid caregiver burnout and find more peace in your life.
Acknowledge that even though you're facing difficulties and feel frustrated, you've chosen to help.
Focus on the good reasons you made that choice.
Perhaps you give back to your parents for the care they gave you growing up. Or setting values or the example you want to set for your kids.
These deep, meaningful reasons can help you get through hard times.
You can also think of the times when caregiving strengthened you. Or how this made you closer to the person you're taking care of and their family members.
Being appreciated can help you deal with a stressful situation and enjoy life more.
Recognize and reward yourself. It will help you feel good about yourself. Take a moment to think about how much you are doing to help people.
You can list all the ways your caregiving is making a difference. When you feel down, look back at it.
The person you’re caring for doesn't have to be the one to pat you on the back.
Look for support. Turn to friends and family who will listen to you and give you credit for your hard work.
Caregivers who take on all the obligations without getting help are likely to experience burnout.
So don't do everything by yourself, and accept all the help you can get.
It's a good idea to list small things that others can do for you. They can help you pick up groceries or take your loved one to an appointment.
Leisure time may seem difficult to a caregiver.
But you owe it to yourself and to your loved one you're caring for to schedule it.
Allow yourself to relax and do activities you enjoy every day. Make time for hobbies like reading, gardening, or watching sports.
It's important to use all the resources and tools you can to help you care for your loved one.
So here are some common techniques you can do to relieve caregiver stress:
Psychotherapy, often known as talk therapy, is a way to help individuals suffering from mental and emotional conditions. It can be done one-on-one or in a group. And it helps caregivers by promoting well-being and healing by removing or controlling troublesome symptoms.
Therapy can help a caregiver deal better with grief, isolation, and stress.
Meditation is ideal for caregivers since it's completely free and can be done anytime.
It has been shown to reduce stress significantly. It helps to improve concentration, strengthen the immunity system, and lower blood pressure.
The best part is that it doesn't require a lot of time. You can use some free apps like Calm to destress.
Another way to lessen the stress of being a caregiver is to write in a journal.
Making a note of your thoughts and feelings helps you get them out of your head.
Even studies have shown that journaling improves your health and well-being.
Chronic severe stress can have a long-term negative impact on both physical and mental health.
So deal with stress and anxiety that work for your busy schedule.
Read more about gratitude journal prompts here.
According to WHO, self-care is a multidimensional process of engaging in strategies that promote and improve well-being.
Self-care can take many forms.
It could be getting enough sleep or going outside for a few minutes to catch some fresh air.
Self-care is essential for coping with life's inevitable stresses.
You'll be better able to live your best life when you take care of your mind and body.
It allows you to let go of negative emotions and refocus on your role.
The more you relax or meditate daily, the less stressed you will be.
Yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation are all good ways to start.
Take even just a few minutes to calm down in the middle of a stressful day, and you'll feel more in touch with yourself.
Too much stress can harm your health, especially over a long time.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, there are some ways you can get help.
The first is to get connected. Find out what resources are available in your area for caregivers.
Many communities offer lessons on the illness that your loved one is suffering from.
Transportation, meal delivery, and housekeeping may be included in the caregiving program.
You can also join support groups around the community.
A support group can be a source of validation and encouragement. It can also help and teach you ways to deal with difficult situations.
People in support groups can understand what you might be going through, and they can help you.
It's also an excellent place to make long-term friends.
It would help if you attempted to stay in touch with family and friends who can give you nonjudgmental emotional help.
And if all else fails, go to a doctor for professional assistance. Don't be afraid to talk about any problems or symptoms you have.
Most caregivers don't know how to help someone with a specific condition, so it's essential to look for resources that can help.
Almost every chronic condition and service you might need have a website that you can look up.
Some of these resources are on the list below:
There are also other websites with resources to assist caregivers in self-care:
Elderly caregiver stress negatively affects one’s overall health.
It pays to assess your own stress levels because you are as important as the people you care for.
After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
So take your time and take care of yourself. You deserve it.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!