Coping With Caregiver Stress
At Longevity Income Solutions, we know the demands of caregiving for an aging loved one can be exhausting and overwhelming. Sometimes you may feel that you’re in over your head or have little control over the situation, but there are steps you can take to relieve some of your stress and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life.
If the stress of caregiving is left alone, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout, a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. And when you get to that point, both you and the person you’re caring for suffer.
According to HelpGuide, a non profit mental health and wellness organization, common signs of caregiver stress include; anxiety, depression, irritability, feeling tired and run down, difficulty sleeping, overreacting to minor nuisances, new or worsening health problems, trouble concentrating, feeling increasingly resentful, eating more, neglecting responsibilities and cutting back on leisure activities.
Always keep in mind, taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. To help you relax and unwind, we have put together a list of some of the best ways to fight caregiver stress and burnout.
Practice acceptance. When faced with the unfairness of a loved one’s illness or the burden of caregiving, there’s often a need to make sense of the situation and ask “Why?” You could spend hours dwelling on the things you can’t change, but at the end of the day, you won’t feel any better. Try to avoid the emotional trap of feeling sorry for yourself or searching for someone to blame.
Look for the silver lining. While being a caregiver can be tough at times, you are tremendously helping your loved one in need. Think about the ways caregiving has made you stronger or how it’s brought you closer to the person you’re taking care of or to other family members.
Celebrate the small victories. If you start to feel discouraged, remind yourself that all your efforts matter. You don’t have to cure your loved one’s illness to make a difference. Don’t underestimate the importance of making your loved one feel more safe, comfortable, and loved!
Imagine how your loved one would respond if they were healthy. This is so important to keep in mind. If they weren’t preoccupied with illness or pain (or disabled by dementia), how would your loved one feel about the love and care you’re giving? While they may not be able to show you how they feel, remind yourself that the person would express gratitude if they could.
Speak up. You shouldn’t expect friends and family members to automatically know what you need or how you’re feeling. Be up front about what’s going on with you and the person that you’re caring for. If you have concerns or thoughts about how to improve the situation, express them. This can also start a dialogue and spread further awareness about what it takes to be a caregiver.
Give yourself a break. There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. Without regularly taking time-off to de-stress and recharge, you’ll end up accomplishing less in the long run. After a break, you should feel more energetic and focused, so you’ll quickly make up for your “lost” time.
Prioritize activities that bring you enjoyment. Make regular time for hobbies that bring you happiness. It all starts with you. If you are not enjoying your life, chances are those around you will feel it too. Put yourself first. If you feel good, those around you will too.
Join a caregiver support group. This is a great way to share your troubles and find people who are going through similar experiences each day. In the midst of coronavirus, many online groups are available. There are plenty you can find with a simple Facebook search. In most support groups, you’ll talk about your problems and hear other’s experiences. Most important, you’ll find out that you’re not alone.
Research caregiver resources. Families may face several different barriers when finding quality care for their loved ones. Paying for care is often one of the most challenging and stressful aspects of caring for an elderly parent or spouse. If you need help figuring out care options or help making sure your loved one’s assets last, Longevity Income Solutions is a great place to start.
We understand how difficult it can be when caring for an aging loved one. With these tips it is our hope that some stress will be lifted from your shoulders. Everything will be okay and we are here for you.
For more information on how we can help you and your family, call us toll free at 1-855-733-3337.