It’s understandable for family caregivers to occasionally be stressed due to the demands associated with this role. However, physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion can take a serious toll on health and wellbeing. This is referred to as caregiver stress syndrome, and it’s typically characterized by a neglect of personal care for the sake of caring for a senior loved one. Here’s what you need to know about caregiver stress syndrome and how it can be prevented or managed.
Causes & Contributing Factors
What’s also referred to as caregiver burnout can result from a number of factors. For some caregivers, the increasing physical and emotional demands of ongoing care may become overwhelming. At other times, caregiver stress syndrome may develop if a loved one has a serious medical condition or a progressive condition like Alzheimer’s. Additional factors that can increase stress for caregivers include:
• Unrealistic expectations from a senior loved one
• A belief you have to do everything yourself
• Worries about finances if care-related costs are an issue
• A lack of boundaries between caregiving duties and personal obligations
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Signs of Caregiver Stress Syndrome
Caregiver stress syndrome is something that tends to develop over time as care needs become more time-consuming or because of an inability to maintain a healthy balance. If your stress accumulates over time, you may not even be aware of what’s happening, but it can still be a serious issue. According to caregiver.com, 11 percent of caregivers report experiencing decreased physical health, and nearly 50 percent report having issues with chronic conditions. Signs and symptoms associated with caregiver stress syndrome include:
- Changes in appetite
- Uncharacteristic weight loss or gain
- Withdrawal from friends and other family members
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Increased irritability or mood changes
- Clear emotional and physical exhaustion
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality homecare, Denver Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
How to Prevent or Handle It
Once you realize you’re likely experiencing caregiver stress syndrome, the next step is to find ways to prevent or handle it as well as possible. One of the first steps you can take is to talk to your own doctor to get a better understanding of how increased stress may be affecting you physically and emotionally. Another step you can take is to lighten your caregiving load. This may involve:
- Setting reasonable boundaries with your loved one
- Seeing if your loved one may benefit from meal and medication delivery services or senior transportation services
- Seeking and accepting help from other family members
Another option is to consider in-home care, which is provided in the comfort of your loved one’s home by a trained professional. It’s also affordable, since professional care is only provided when it’s needed, which can give you the chance to have more time to tend to your own needs. Lastly, don’t forget to find healthy and beneficial outlets for addressing your own feelings. Possibilities include:
- Having a trusted friend or family member to confide in
- Joining a support group for caregivers
- Keeping a journal so you can express your thoughts, feelings, and frustrations privately
Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Denver, CO, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (720) 443-3371 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.