All too often I will be sitting with a Caregiver who is inquiring about our services at Manor on the Hill and I will comment, “you’re at your wits end, aren’t you?” The stress of caregiving is apparent in their face and eyes.
Caregiving can be rewarding but it can also be very stressful as the elderly parent continues to decline or require more and more assistance. Being there when a loved one needs you is a common core value shared by many and is something you wish to provide. However, it is natural to feel angry, frustrated, exhausted or sad.
As a caregiver, you may become so focused on your loved one, that you let your own health and well-being suffer. Some signs of caregiver stress are:
- Feeling overwhelmed or worrying constantly
- Being tired most of the time
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Changes in weight, gaining or losing weight rapidly
- Being easily irritated or angry
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, aches and pains or other physical problems
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
Too much stress, over time, can severely impact your health. In fact, depression is 2.3 times more likely in a caregiver who hides their emotions.
To help manage the stress of caregiving, consider:
- Accepting help. It’s ok to admit you can’t do it all yourself. Accept help from others; it’s ok.
- Focus on what you can provide. There is no “perfect” caregiver. Provide what you can and accept you can’t provide everything as long as your loved one is safe and medically taken care of.
- Set realistic goals. Again, you can’t do it all. Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine.
- Join a support group. We have a monthly support group at Manor on the Hill on the third Wednesday of each month at 1:30 pm. Anyone can attend.
- Seek social support. Stay well-connected with family and friends. Make time for yourself to be with others in a social situation at least once a week.
- Take care of your health. Set a sleep routine, exercise regularly, eat healthy and drink plenty of water.
- See your Doctor and be sure to tell them that you are a caregiver.
Even caregivers deserve some vacation time. We offer a “Respite Stay” for your loved one so that you can decompress, relax and get ready to care-give once again. Or you might consider making the Manor on the Hill your loved ones new home so our professional caregivers can provide the services necessary and all you have to do is visit!