5 Ways to Manage Caregiver Stress
Being a caregiver can be rewarding, but it may come with a significant amount of stress. You can sometimes become so wrapped up in caring for your loved one that you fail to take care of your own physical, mental, and emotional stress. Although quitting this responsibility is not likely an option, many ways exist that can help you manage the stress that comes with being a caregiver.
1. Investigate Local Caregiving Resources
Because aging in place is becoming more of the norm than the exception, a multitude of resources are available in many communities that can provide support for caregivers, although you may have to do some research to find them. Local senior transport options are often available if you are unable to transport seniors everywhere they need to go. You may also find places that offer adult day care or respite services to provide you with a much-needed break. These services often offer activities with other seniors, which can help your loved one socialize and keep their mind sharp. Moreover, by joining local caregiver support groups, you can find valuable information as well as a support system with caregivers who are going through the same situations that you are.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
When you choose to be a caregiver, you might feel that you need to do the job all on your own, but that is the easiest way to experience burnout. Consider delegating various tasks to other family members, friends, or those willing to help. These can include grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, transportation, or even sitting with your loved one while you run some errands. Have a list of regular helpers whom you trust to help take some of the tasks off your plate.
3. If You Work, Consider Taking a Leave
Caring for a loved one while balancing the responsibilities of a job can make you feel extremely overwhelmed. You legally have the right under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a relative without the risk of losing your job or your benefits. Your human resource department can provide you with the necessary forms and information to get your leave approved.1
4. Take the Time to Get Organized
Being a caregiver can leave you with a multitude of tasks each day, as well as a list of appointments. You may easily get distracted or off task, especially when juggling so much. To overcome this, start by making a regular schedule as well as daily task lists that can help you stay on track and ensure that all tasks are completed. Prioritize your tasks such that if your day gets derailed, the critical tasks are completed.
5. Take Some Time to Focus on Your Health
Taking care of another person is impossible if you are not healthy. Good physical, emotional, and mental health are vital to prevent burnout and reduce stress. Make sure that you get sufficient sleep, proper nutrition, and physical exercise throughout the day. Make time for regular medical appointments, and if your emotional or mental health is suffering, consider making time to see a therapist. Sometimes being able to put the focus on yourself and your needs can be a stress reliever.
By allowing others to help, taking advantage of local resources, and maintaining your own health, you can help reduce the stress that comes with being a caregiver. To be the best caregiver you can be, you need to feel your best, which means taking care of your own stress so that you can tend to all your loved one’s needs.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.