4 Family Caregiver Stress Busters

affordable home care assisted home care at home caregivers care for older people home care services for seniors home help for the elderly non medical senior care respite for caregivers senior home assistanceFirst, Dad needed help monitoring his daily medications.  Soon, he needed regular at-home care.  If you are taking care of elderly parents, you understand the tough sacrifices and rewards of helping your aging parent with daily routines such as bathing, cooking, washing laundry, or making medical and financial decisions.

Yet, without realizing it, your efforts to comfort and support your elderly parents may be eroding your own health with an elevated risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and anxiety.  Stress from caring for an aging loved one also can increase the likelihood of headaches, disruptive sleep, and depression.

The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 symptoms of caregiver stress that apply to everyone who is caring for a family member, no matter the family member’s diagnosis.  This list includes denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, and health problems.

 

To help combat caregiver stress, try the following caregiver stress busters:

Refresh your own health. Exercise at the gym or go for a brisk walk a few times a week.  According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise stimulates brain chemicals that may help relax and boost your mood.  Also be sure you maintain good nutrition and sleep habits.  Check in with your own doctor on annual exams for other ways to support your own optimal health.

elderly home assistance help for senior caregivers home care companies home care in Minnesota companion elder care in Minnesota in home senior care providers at home caregiversRecruit help. Enlist the support of family members, friends, and neighbors who can lend caregiving help.  When someone says, “Let me know if there is something I can do to help,” realize they want to help and don’t be afraid to take them up on it!  Be sure to carve out time for regular respite breaks, either utilizing friends, family members, or the assistance of home care companies.

Stay connected. Keep up your own family connections and friendships.  Having a confidant who listens to you is crucial as you navigate the unknowns and challenges of caring for another person.  Local or online caregiver support groups are another beneficial way to learn with others about realistic expectations and goals to prevent caregiver burnout.

Continue with your own life. To maintain balance, it’s important to stay active with your own interests, hobbies, and social groups.  Don’t skip the fun events or forgo your normal faith and community activities.  Doing so will only cause resentment and serve to burn you out.

Relieving stress regularly—before health issues arise—safeguards your loved one’s care and preserves your relationship with them—one shared meal, one doctor’s report, and one fond memory at a time.

Paul Blom, CEO

September 4, 2014

 

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