Aging family, friends, and loved ones is unfortunately a part of life that we all have to accept. Though it can be hard for us to watch people we love grow older, it’s likely more difficult for them, as many elderly people have to increase their reliance on others with caregiving and home assistance. In many families, people take on an informal caregiver role to aging loved ones so they can get the help they need to live.
While caregiving is a rewarding and important job, it can also be extremely stressful, especially if you already have another full time job that requires your needs and attention. It’s very common for many of these unofficial caregivers to have “caregiver burnout,” which have symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, weight change, and ease of irritation. The good news is, there are always ways to help you alleviate that burnout. Here are some ways to help you manage your caregiver stress:
- Support Groups. Joining a support group with people in similar situations can be a great way to help your stress. These people will validate your feelings and encourage you to keep going, as well as provide helpful strategies if you ever find yourself in a difficult situation that you don’t know how to navigate. Similarly, you may have insight on a situation that others do not, which may make you feel better about your caregiving ability.
- Maintain Your Health. Keeping someone else’s health in shape can sometimes mean that you let your own health go to the wayside. It’s important that you set some time aside to maintain your own health, not only for your physical being, but also for you to stay happy. Set a regular sleep schedule so you’re well rested, drink water, eat a healthy diet, and find ways to exercise throughout the week. It may sound more stressful, but these are just little ways that you can provide for yourself, while also providing for another.
- Stay Social. Just like you should take care of your physical health, take care of your mental health by staying social! Reach out to friends or family to stay connected with others outside of your caregiving world. Being a caregiver can sometimes feel isolating, and spending time with others will remind you that you’re never alone. Do something fun and entertaining, or even just something relaxing where you can talk about your feelings to people you trust.
- Set Realistic Goals. Even though you may feel an overwhelming need to meet the needs of others, don’t be afraid to set realistic goals and draw boundaries of what you can and can’t do. Break down tasks into smaller activities, and make to-do lists to help keep you on track, but be aware of what you can and can’t do. It is perfectly okay for you to not have the expertise to do something, and recognizing where you may need help will ultimately cause less stress later.
- Get Help. If you need help, ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people will be willing to help you with small things, like running errands, picking someone up, or watching someone for a brief time while you step out. Simple things like this will give you peace of mind, even if just for a moment. If things are getting to be more than you or other loved ones can handle, then it may be time to look into professional assistance.
CCA Home Care is committed to providing quality home care for the elderly. Whether you’re looking for a full time caregiver or not, we are experienced in a variety of conditions, including Alzheimers and Dementia. With 2 locations in Lincoln and Omaha, we’re able to provide care for you when you need it. Visit our website for more information or our contact page to find a location near you.