For many caregivers, it is in their very nature to care selflessly for another, putting their own needs, feelings, and problems aside to ensure the safety and healing of their loved one or friend. But, too often, caregivers reach damaging and unhealthy levels of stress before they come to the point of reaching out for help and support. It is so important that caregivers are mindful of the signs that point to caregiver’s stress. They must seek the help of a friend, support groups, or a physician, before their struggles become severe.
We’ve compiled a few of the key signs that point to caregiver’s stress:
It is important to recognize if you are feeling anger toward your ill loved one or others who don’t seem to understand what you’re going through. Resentment toward those whom you are caring for, can lead to damaged relationships, self-neglect, and further stress. You might consider enlisting the help of a home health aide who can release you from some of the burden of caregiving. You may also want to find a support group in your area for individuals experiencing similar situations.
This is a tricky one. It’s important to remain optimistic, positive, and hopeful. However, it is damaging to live in denial of the severity or progression of your loved one’s illness. It’s also important to keep a realistic view of the situation at hand. This will enable you to prepare for the next steps and provide appropriate care for yourself and your loved one. Denial might make the short term easier to deal with, but may be detrimental in the long run preventing you from seeking appropriate care and do proper planning.
Do you find yourself making excuses to not attend social gatherings, meet a friend for coffee, or even leave the house for a walk? These are signs of caregiver stress and can lead to depression. Keeping active socially and physically reduces stress and provides an outlet for the rollercoaster of feelings that come with caregiving. Keep in contact with friends, neighbors and relatives. Join a walking group or regularly attend a group class at the gym. Social interaction and physical activity are essential to keeping a healthy mind and body.
Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, fear and worry should not be taken lightly. Depression is a medical condition and affects a person both physically and mentally. Seek medical attention if feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed persist for longer than two weeks. Seek immediate medical attention if thoughts of hurting oneself or others are present. Medication may be needed to lift the fog. However, care must be taken to avoid what has become all too common – prescription drug abuse. Talk therapy with a social worker or psychologist can help you work through the unique challenges one feels as a caregiver.
Fatigue is your body and mind’s way of letting you know that you are not taking care of yourself. Are you living on caffeine, falling further and further behind on routine tasks, forgetting appointments or never feeling fully rested? Take note. Maintaining a healthy diet and quality sleep patterns are paramount for your body and mind to stay sharp, functioning, and healthy. Again, it is important to reflect from time to time on internal cues telling you the load is too heavy. If there seems to be no time for self-care, performing daily tasks, or maintaining social relationships, consider seeking outside help to share the responsibilities of caregiving. It is important for the care of your loved one that you are capable of making sound decisions and can perform care tasks accurately and effectively.
Seek the Support for Caregiver’s Stress You Need
To find support groups, visit the websites of national organizations to find a group that meets near you. There are many organizations serving the elderly and catering to the various diseases common to them. If you feel caregiver’s stress, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and seek specialized care as directed.
To learn about the possibilities of acquiring outside assistance through a home health aide or nurse, please contact us. We can help you understand your options for in-home care and assistance. Most importantly, don’t take these signs lightly. Your health – physically and mentally – is important to your ability to provide the best care possible for your loved one.
For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.