How to Lessen Stress for Family Caregivers
For many people, when a loved one becomes ill or has age-related decline, the task of caregiving falls to a family member. The physical, psychological, social and financial problems that family caregivers experience can be overwhelming. 60% of family caregivers have high to very high emotional stress and 40% suffer from depression, compared to 5-15% of non-caregivers of similar ages.
It is important for family caregivers to understand the factors related to caregiver stress, so that they can take care of their own health as well as provide care for their loved ones. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce stress for family caregivers.
Stress Factors To Watch Out For
The first step to reducing stress for family caregivers is to understand what the stress factors are. These factors vary depending on the level of care being provided, but there are common ones that most family caregivers experience.
Caregiving tasks might include lifting, transporting, and might require being on your feet for long periods of time. There can also be a lack of sleep and change in schedules that take a physical toll. All of these things can add up to increased health problems, such as back pain, muscle aches, higher blood pressure, and chronic conditions.
Caring for a loved one can be time consuming and isolating. Many family caregivers report increased feelings of isolation and a loss of contact with friends. Caregiving can also put a strain on family relationships, changing the social dynamic between family members.
Caregiving, especially for loved ones, can come with high emotional stress. It can be painful to see the health of loved ones decline and frustrating to manage the issues that arise. Many caregivers report symptoms of burnout, depression, and anxiety. This is especially true when the burden of care falls on just one family member. Many family caregivers are afraid to ask for help, but support from a therapist, other family members, and in-home caregivers or a home assistant will greatly reduce emotional stress.
The financial burden due to a loss in income or increased expenses is a big stress factor for family caregivers. The cost of care can be difficult and it can be difficult to navigate insurance policies.
Tips for Reducing Stress for Family Caregivers
Balancing caregiving and self-care is not always easy, but it is crucial for keeping stress levels low. Even simply having awareness of the stress factors involved with caregiving can help. If family caregivers are aware of the factors, that can take steps to address them.
1. Therapy Or Counseling
The emotional toll of caring for a loved ones is often much larger than most people realize. While it is helpful to talk to other family members or friends, a professional therapist or councilor will have the necessary training to guide a family caregiver through all of the emotional ups and downs that come with caregiving.
2. Professional In-Home Care Support
Having the support of an in-home caregiver can greatly reduce stress on all levels. Agencies like Alegre Home Care offer numerous options depending on a family’s schedule and needs for care. In addition to the caregiving support, utilizing an in-home care agency also provides educational opportunity for family caregivers. For example, an in-home caregiver will create a personalized care plan that family caregivers can also use when they are providing care for their loved ones.
3. Self-Care Practices
Family caregivers can use self-care practices to reduce stress on a daily basis. This includes journaling, meditating, breathing exercises, eating healthy, and moderate exercise. Even carving out a bit of time each week for some “me time” can greatly reduce stress.
4. Have a Plan
Since many family caregivers are new to caregiving, they often are not sure where to start. Having a daily, weekly, and monthly plan of care will keep tasks organized and allow family caregivers to track progress or changes in behavior. Another type of plan is an emergency plan, which includes protocols for emergency situations, as well as important phone numbers and an emergency kit.
At Alegre Home Care, caregivers create personalized care plans tailored to the unique needs of each individual. Having the support of an in-home caregiver can help family caregivers understand how a care plan works and what things need to be in place in order to provide the best possible care for their loved ones.
Call For A FREE Consultation
If you are looking for in-home care services, we’re here to help! Get started with a free consultation and we can coach you through the level of caregiving services you or a loved one needs. All caregivers at Alegre Home Care are highly trained and experienced.
Call us at 800-598-4777 or reach out to us at one of our office locations in San Francisco and Northern California.