Are you a caregiver? There's a good chance you are: 25 percent of all adults are caregivers for an adult friend or family member.
And if you're a caregiver, you know the demands of this job can be overwhelming. If the stress associated with providing long term care isn't dealt with, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health, and harm those around you.
That's why we're using today's blog post to focus on caregiver support. We wanted to share some signs that you might be stressed, along with some ways to deal with them.
How can I tell if being a caregiver is making me stressed?
Serving as someone's caregiver can be an all-encompassing job. It's possible to become so focused on your duties that you don't recognize when your own health begins to suffer
Here are some warning signs to watch for:
- You feel tired most of the time
- You feel sad
- You get frequent headaches and other pains
- You're drinking too much, or abusing drugs
- You're not sleeping enough, or you're sleeping too much
- You're constantly worried, or feel overwhelmed
- You're gaining weight, or losing weight
- You find yourself getting irritated or angry very easily
- You've lost interest in activities you used to cherish
There are added risk factors for caregiver stress. These include:
- Less time spent in formal education
- Living with the person you care for
- Existing depression
- Financial hardships
- Lack of coping skills
- Long hours of caregiving
- Being a woman: women are more likely to experience caregiver stress than men
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to deal with the stress associated with being a caregiver:
1. It's ok to ask for help
Think of ways other people can help you, and let another person pick a task they'd like to do. If they can't drive, maybe have them take the person you care for on a walk, or sit and watch movies while you take a break. Someone else might be willing to cook dinner every now and then.
2. You are not Superman or Wonder Woman
It's important to understand that you can't do everything. Accept that you're doing the best you can for the person you care for, and making do with what is available to you.
3. Keep your goals realistic
Tackle tasks in small chunks. Make lists, and stick to a daily routine. It's OK to say no to things that are too taxing, either for you or the person in your care.
4. Find others who are in your shoes
Find out if your community has a caregiver support group. It will allow you to find encouragement and get tips from others who have been where you are.
5. Look for caregiver resources
Many communities offer classes about the illness your loved one is dealing with. You might be able to access resources such as meal delivery and transportation..
6. Stay connected
Keep in contact with friends and family who can offer support without judgement. Give yourself time each week to make these connections.
7. Remember your own health
Try to establish health goals for each week: getting enough sleep, finding time to exercise, and sticking to a healthy diet.
8. Talk to your doctor
Being a caregiver often means a lot of time with doctors, but make sure you've made time for your own doctor, so that you can get regular screenings and immunizations. Don't be afraid to mention any concerns or symptoms.
If you're looking for ways to make things easier on you as a caregiver, and safer for the person in your care, contact Marx Medical.
Our expert staff is ready to assist you with delivery, white glover service and installation, as well as support and training, all with the goal of giving you more time to focus on your loved one's care.