Signs of caregiver stress

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, caring for an elderly parent can be an overwhelming experience. Not only is there the stress tied to seeing the health of someone close to you deteriorate, there’s also the role reversal of caring for the person who cared for you so much of your life, which no doubt can be very emotionally draining. All this in addition to the time it takes to give your elderly parent proper care balancing work, family and friends all along the way.

If this sounds like you, remember help is always available from the knowledgable and experienced staff of senior care providers, such as Encompass Senior Solutions in the Omaha area.

Below is a list of common signs of caregiver stress, followed by some strategies you can follow to deal with them (via the Mayo Clinic).

Signs of caregiver stress

As a caregiver, the Mayo Clinic warns you not to “be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering.” Common signs that this is the case include:

  • An almost constant sense of fatigue
  • Feeling overwhelmed/irritable
  • Not sleeping enough/sleeping too much
  • Unusual gain/loss of weight
  • General loss of interest in once pleasurable activities
  • Depression

Strategies for dealing with caregiver stress

Stress in general, especially over a long period of time, is harmful to your health. That’s why as someone giving care it’s important to take care of yourself. Simple things like eating a balanced diet and getting regular physical activity can go a long way in keeping you grounded during your caregiving experience. Also, don’t ever hesitate to seek additional help and support. On that note, the Mayo Clinic offers these strategies that have proven useful to caregivers:

  • It’s OK to accept help. Just as you’re helping someone, there are likely plenty of other people willing to assist you. The Mayo Clinic recommends making a list of ways others can help, letting the helper choose what they’re willing or able to do (this can be as simple as cooking or cleaning once a week).
  • Focus on the things you can provide. Do your best with what you have to offer. “Your house does not have to be perfect, and no one will care if you eat leftovers three days in a row,” advises the Mayo Clinic. And don’t allow guilt to get to you, especially when asking for help.
  • Stay healthy. The Mayo clinic advises caregivers to set personal health goals so they can, for example, find time to be physically active several days a week or simply get a good night’s sleep. As noted above, eating a healthy diet is crucial to your overall health.
  • A support group can help. Support groups offer a great source not only for encouragement but also for advice from others in similar situations.
  • Social support can help. Distancing yourself emotionally from friends and family will only lead to more problems for you, so set aside time each week to get out and socialize. This can come in the form of a walk with a friend or even a night out on the town.
  • A doctor can help. A doctor can give you expert advice on and solutions for dealing with your caregiving situation. A doctor can also help with immunizations and screenings.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”