Some Ways To Deal With Caregiver Stress

By Kelly Wood

Caregiver stress is becoming a major issue in our modern world. With people living longer, there is an even greater need for people to care for those who cannot take care of themselves. Those caregivers are in danger of having their own mental, physical, and emotional issues.

A caregiver can be defined as anyone that provides help for someone who can no longer do regular daily tasks. The majority are unpaid and are related in some way to the person that they give care to. At least 45 million people are caregivers today, with that number climbing everyday. Oftentimes, it involves caring for an elderly family member. However, many are also parents who must care for a disabled child.

At some point in their lives almost everyone will face this job. The majority are women and some have an outside job in addition to looking after their loved one. Those who work usually have to make significant adjustments to their work schedule. It might even be wise to talk with your employer about taking some unpaid leave so that your stress level does not go too high.

This job can obviously lead to much strain for the caregivers. Many report feeling emotions like guilt, frustration, and anger. Their social lives often suffer. They often feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the situation,

Unfortunately, those who care for others are much more likely to suffer medical problems of their own over the long term. They tend to be more likely to get things like depression and heart disease. They also tend to be slower to heal when they do become ill.

Some solutions to help alleviate these problems do exist. If possible, talk to a psychologist or a counselor. Your own medical doctor can also give you some advice. Many hospitals or clinics offer specific training on care giving as it relates to certain illnesses like dementia. Help yourself by letting others help you when they offer. You should not feel like you are the one who has to do everything. Make a list of true priorities, and think less about the less important things. See if other family members can help with some of the burden and responsibility. Keep in contact with your friends. It is important for you to take time for yourself, so that you can keep your own health.

Even though the stress can be high for this responsibility, you can also reap many positive rewards. Many feel like they are giving back and that they are truly needed. Some even report gaining a better and stronger relationship for the loved one.

Caregiver stress can definitely have a major negative impact on a person. However, most states and local communities have information on agencies that can help both you and the one who needs care. Your local Area Agency on Aging is an excellent source for valuable information. Their resources are virtually limitless. Many communities also offer help by way of things such as adult day care and respite care. Be sure to take advantage of any available resources. Also, if possible, talk to others in your same situation.

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