This Caregiver Stress Test Helps You Avoid Burnout
As a family caregiver, you are well aware of the stress that comes with taking care of your senior loved one on a daily basis. It can be rewarding in many ways, as you get to spend more time with your aging parent, spouse or other loved one. However, all that closeness and responsibility can turn even the most loving relationship into one fraught with resentment and frustration.
Sometimes you just need a break to alleviate the stress of caregiving. That’s where companion care services can come in handy. Having a professional caregiver come to the home to fill in the gaps while you tend to your own family, run errands or just enjoy a much-needed day to yourself can be a life saver.
However, many caregivers don’t give themselves a break because they feel guilty, or they feel a sense of responsibility to be there all the time, or they just don’t know how to ask for help. But stress can be a killer, which is why you must learn to properly manage and reduce stress so you can stay healthy and continue caregiving.
Thing is, we often convince ourselves that we are far less stressed out than we really are. What if there was a way to measure that stress? There is. Check out this quiz from AARP that measures your stress level at this moment as well as over time.
This quiz is helpful because it pinpoints where you fall on the stress spectrum, how your stress levels are changing over time, and which stress management techniques will work best for you. Best part is, you can keep the quiz handy and take it regularly – say, once a month. Because caregiving is a constantly changing situation, it makes sense that you will go through periods of more and less stress as the days and weeks wear on.
The Demands of Caregiving
The demands of caregiving are exhausting and overwhelming, particularly when you sense you’re in over your head or have little to no control over the situation at hand.
You could be suffering from caregiver burnout if you:
- Have less energy than you used to
- Catch every cold, stomach bug or flu that goes around
- Constantly feel exhausted, even after taking breaks or sleeping
- Neglect your own needs because you feel you are too busy or you just don’t care anymore
- Do nothing but provide care, yet this act gives you little to no satisfaction
- Can’t relax, even when you have offers of help
- Are getting increasingly irritable and impatient with your loved one
- Feel hopeless and helpless
The good news is, there are things you can do to get a handle on that stress and reclaim balance, hope and joy in your life. The key is to ask for help, whether from senior home care services, friends or family. You’re never alone. Here are some tips to asking for, and getting, the help you need.
- Get respite care. Enlist the help of friends and family who live nearby to run errands, bring over a hot meal, or watch your loved one so you can take a break. Hire in home caregivers to take over for you for the day, or even just a few hours while you tend to your own needs. You will get peace of mind knowing they are well taken care of, which will allow you to relax and focus on self-care.
- Spread out the responsibility. Get as many family members involved in the caregiving as possible, says Help Guide. Divide up caregiving tasks, whereby one person can handle medical responsibilities, while another takes over the finances and bills, and still another can do the grocery shopping and other errands.
- Say “yes” when someone offers to help. Don’t be shy when it comes to accepting help. It makes people feel good to help out in some concrete way, so let them!
- Relinquish some control. Delegating tasks is one thing, but trying to control every part of care is quite another. People won’t want to help you out if you micromanage, bark orders, or insist they do things your way.
- Take time for YOU. This is the most important one. Failure to make time for self-care will negatively affect your health, both mental and physical. Take the day off, get a mani/pedi, go out for beers with the boys, have a coffee date with your best friend, take a bubble bath. Whatever it is, just do it. And do it on a regular basis.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
Here at Preferred HealthStaff, our caregivers provide respite care for your loved one in their home so you can take a much-needed break. Our services are designed to take the burden off your shoulders so you can relieve stress and have time to care for your own family. To learn more about at home care, please contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.