Resources for caregivers
The term “caregiver” refers to anyone who is helping another person in need. In many cases this is a spouse, partner, aging relative, or a child with special needs. While the term caregiver clearly refers to a lot of people, it’s common for many of those people to not recognize themselves as a true caregiver. Therefore, it sometimes can become overwhelming or confusing when they begin experiencing stress and/or hostility toward the person they are helping. But recognizing the natural (and common) side effects that come along with providing care for someone can help caregivers understand and cope with these feelings.
Providing care / relieving stress
While caregiving can be very rewarding, there will almost certainly be unexpected stress that comes along with the role. Anger, exhaustion, sadness, jealousy, and loneliness are all commonly experienced by caregivers. While the individual feelings associated with each of these are quite different, they all lead to some form of caregiver stress. Here are a few of the risk factors that make it even more common to experience caregiver stress:
- Living with the person you are helping care for
- Financial difficulties
- Pre-existing feelings of depression
- Social isolation
In addition, the more hours that you spend caregiving, the higher the risk of experiencing caregiver stress. To compound the issue, people who did not have a choice as to whether they wanted to provide care or not are also at a higher risk of experiencing caregiver stress.
Signs and symptoms of caregiver stress
Be on the lookout for the following signs of caregiver stress, as they can often sneak up on you:
- No longer interested in things you used to enjoy
- Upticks in alcohol or drug consumption (including prescription medications)
- Feelings of being worried or overwhelmed all of the time
- Unusually tired throughout the day
- Weight fluctuations
- Easily agitated or angry
Coping with caregiver stress
While there are many tips and tricks you can find on blogs and message boards, the good news is that experts are available to help cope with caregiver stress. The best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with one of our trained professionals so we can connect you with the appropriate resources. We offer proven techniques for lessening stress while ensuring that your loved one is fully cared for.
In addition to the many ways we can help relieve caregiver stress, here are a few tips you can start with today that very easy to do when you have a few moments to yourself:
- Allow yourself to ask for help
- Try deep breathing techniques
- Light exercise such as walking around the block may help
- Watch an enjoyable movie
- Brew a cup of tea
- Try keeping a journal of your thoughts
While these techniques alone will not take away your caregiver burden, they will help you take time for self care and relaxation. Do not be ashamed to ask for help and if you do not know how, we are here to support you.