Take Care of the Caregiver: Preventing and Identifying Caregiver Stress

Caring for an elderly individual takes much effort, time, and work. Plus, almost all caregivers squeeze in care giving with parenting and putting their personal needs aside during the process.

Studies indicate that elderly care giving “takes a toll” on emotional and physical health. Note that caregivers are likely to experience depression compared to their non-care giving peers.    Furthermore, studies revealed that elderly caregivers also are more prone to experiencing health problems such as heart disease and diabetes compared to non-caregivers.

Caregivers for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia in elderly are especially vulnerable to suffer exhaustion. Research indicates that almost all dementia caregivers go through stress and depression.

Causes of caregiver stress

–                         Role confusion.   Many individuals are confused if pushed into a care giving role, as it is hard for some individuals to detach her function as an elderly caregiver from the function of being a lover, spouse, friend, mother, child, etc.

–                         Unrealistic expectations.     A lot of elderly caregivers expect that their involvement will have an encouraging effect on their patient”s happiness and health. However, this can be unrealistic because patients that are suffering Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s are in fact are progressive illnesses.

–                         Lacking control. Caregivers usually become upset when they lack resources, skills and money to successfully manage, organize and their patient”s care.

–                         Unreasonable demands.   There are caregivers that place unreasonable weight upon themselves, partly because they view caring for their patient is their sole responsibility.

Preventing caregiver stress

1.                       Find somebody that you can trust like your co-worker, neighbor or friend and talk to them about your frustrations.

2.                       Only set realistic objectives and acknowledge that you need help caring with your parent and ask for help to other family members for assistance with certain tasks.

3.                       Be sensible about your elderly parent”s illness especially if they are suffering from a progressive ailment like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

4.                       Make sure that you also care for yourself.   Never be too busy taking care of your elderly parents that you forget to set some time aside for yourself even just for an hour. Caring for yourself is an absolute requirement for caregivers.

5.                       Consult a professional such as a social worker, a clergy member or a therapist as they are well trained to advice and support individuals who deal with some type of emotional and physical issues.

6.                       Hire the help of elderly “respite care” services. They provide a break temporarily for caregivers, ranging from several hours of “in-home” care to just a brief stay in an assisted living home facility or nursing home.

7.                       Know what your limits are then do a “reality check” of your situation. Identify and accept your possibility for caregiver stress.

8.                       Educate yourself. In fact, the more that you are familiar with your elderly parent”s illness, the more successful you can be in taking care of your elder.

9.                       Develop new means for coping. Keep in mind to always lighten up as well as accentuate at all times the positive. You can use humor to help you deal with your everyday stress.

10.                   Stay healthy by means of having regular exercise, eating right and getting enough sleep.

Keep in mind that stress is not the same as having flu or experiencing a cold. In fact, you will not notice it always while you are undergoing it. However, by recognize or admitting the reality or fact that care giving is often times filled with anxiety and stress, and accepting the possibility for stress, you as a caregiver will be forewarned as well as guarded against this incapacitating condition.

It is very significant to remember that caring for your elderly parent can likewise build positive change emotionally.

Aside from stress, a lot of caregivers declare that their role when caring for their elderly parents has had a lot of positive outcome on their life. For instance, many state that taking care of their loved one has brought about a “sense of purpose” in them. Their care giving role had made them feel very capable, useful and that indeed, they are creating a big difference their loved one”s life.


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