Recent research shows that over 44 million Americans provide unpaid care to elderly loved ones or a disabled adult. Of these caregivers, an overwhelming majority (one out of three) reports their stress levels as high, and that their caregiving duties often force them to miss out on doing some of the things they most enjoy.
Providing care for an elderly loved one can be a rewarding experience with benefits for both the caregiver and the recipient. However, when caregivers put so much effort into caregiving duties that they start to neglect their own well-being, they also begin to suffer mentally, physically and emotionally.
Throughout the stages of caregiving, caregiver stress syndrome occurs when providing care to an aging loved one leads to mental health issues like anxiety or depression, as well as physical health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, a compromised immune system and more. Some caregivers even report an increase in the use of drugs or alcohol.
A few of the signs of caregiver stress include:
Even the most resilient person can be affected by the mental, physical and emotional demands of caregiving. When you’re experiencing too much negative stress, your health begins to suffer as it becomes difficult to properly take care of your own needs. And as a caregiver, if you aren’t as healthy as you possibly could be, you won’t be able to provide the best level of care to your aging loved one.
If you’re noticing any of the signs of caregiver stress above, it’s important to take note and attend to your own needs. Caregivers often get so immersed in their caregiving duties that they fail to realize their own health is suffering, or even that they’ve developed some chronic health conditions. While it can be difficult for caregivers to admit they need some help with their responsibilities, seeking caregiver support can help them avoid the burnout they’re experiencing.
A few ways to reduce caregiver stress include:
Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, join Concordia for our Caregiver Support Meeting hosted by our caregiving expert, Mel Roberts. This event is open to the public, and offers resources and support to those who need it most. Please call (405) 720-7200 to RSVP or fill out our form today.