Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it can also be very stressful. Most people who are primary caregivers for a friend or family member do not even recognize the stress that comes along with this major responsibility. Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of care giving. Individuals who experience the most caregiver stress are the most vulnerable to changes in their own health.
Step 1: Identify
Many caregivers fall into the trap of believing that they have to do everything by themselves. It is important not to make that mistake. Here are some signs that you or someone you know may be experiencing caregiver stress:
- Feeling tired/ exhausted most of the time
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Weight changes (losing or gaining too much weight)
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling irritable and overwhelmed most of the time
- Having difficulty concentrating constantly worrying about your loved one
Step 2: Relieve
Once you have identified caregiver stress the next step is to find ways to relieve the stress and take advantage of the many resources and tools available to help you provide care for your loved one. Try these helpful tips to alleviate the physical and emotional stress of caregiver:
- Accept Help! Reach out to family members, friends or even a home health agency, like Personal Health Care, to assist you with providing care for your loved one. Even a small break from the stress of complete responsibility of care giving will do wonders for your mental and physical health.
- Stay Active! Continue to make time for exercise and physical activity. Keeping yourself in good physical shape will help to ward off stress.
- Join a Support Group! Check with your doctor or your local office of Aging or Red Cross to find other caregivers just like you to talk with. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association offers caregiver classes and support groups to help connect caregivers and provide resources to relieve the stress they experience on a daily basis.
- Visit your Doctor! Make sure you check in with your doctor regularly and let them know that you are a caregiver. Your doctor may recommend immunizations and screenings to keep you healthy. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about signs and symptoms of stress that you may be experiencing; the sooner you identify the stress the sooner you can seek relief!
The most important thing to remember is that if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot continue to provide care for someone else!!
Call Personal Health Care today at 610-933-6130 to speak with a nurse or case manager to discuss your loved ones needs!