Today, many of us are taking care of our more frail parents. Whether we are the sole caregiver, or coordinating care giving by others, it can be very stressful. As we all know, our stress can “leak out” and impact others. Watch for these signs of caregiver stress:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Constant tiredness
- Sleeping too much or not enough; insomnia
- Fluctuation in weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
Take Care of Your Physical Needs:
It is important to take charge and control our level of stress. VIPrivate Care recommends incorporating simple relaxation techniques like regular exercise, meditation and proper sleep to reduce stress symptoms.
Take Care of Your Emotional Needs:
The emotional toll involved in care taking can affect you as well. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
- Focus on what you are able to provide and the things you can control. There is no such thing as a “perfect” caregiver. Believe that you are doing the best you can and making the best decisions you can. You can’t wish your father’s cancer away or force your sister to help you out more. Rather than stressing out over things you can’t control, focus on the way you choose to react to those problems.
- Embrace your care-giving choice. You must acknowledge that you have made a conscious decision to provide care for your loved one. Did you make that choice because you want to repay your parent for taking care of you? Or maybe it’s because you want to set an example for your children. Focus on the positive reasons behind that choice.
- Seek community support. Make an effort to stay well-connected with family and friends who can offer emotional support. Set aside time each week for connecting with them, even if it’s just to get a cup of coffee. You can also join a support group. A support group can be a good place to create meaningful friendships and connect with people who understand what you may be going through.
Celebrate the small victories. If you start to feel discouraged, remind yourself that all your efforts matter. Don’t underestimate the importance of making your loved one feel more safe, comfortable, and loved!
As a caretaker, what is the most difficult challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it? What advice do you have for caretakers struggling with stress? Check out our forum and share your experience!
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VIPrivate Care is a private nursing and home care service that provides immediate, short-term, long term, clinical and nonclinical care to patients that prefer private duty and private pay.