Here is a quick 10 question test to determine if you may be stressed as a result of your caregiving duties
1. Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed when you think about what you need to do for your aging loved one?
2. Do you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep?
3. Are you interrupted during the work day to handle issues regarding your aging loved one?
4. Are you more irritable and short tempered than normal?
5. Do you have less time to spend on hobbies and activities you find relaxing and enjoyable?
6. Are your pre-existing medical conditions worsening?
7. Do you catch nearly every bug that goes around?
8.Do you find yourself withdrawing from your friends and choosing to skip outings?
9. Are you turning to alcohol, cigarettes or food to cope?
10. Do you feel resentment toward the loved one relying on your care?
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you are probably stressed as a result of your caregiving duties. The most important thing is to take action now before your stress evolves into caregiver burnout.
Here are 3 simple things you can do to decrease stress and improve your quality of life.
Join a support group- Support groups can be an enormous benefit for caregivers. In a support group you will meet and connect with caregivers who are currently, or have been in your shoes. There are support groups made for specific diseases if your loved one is suffering from anything from Alzheimer’s, to CHF to Osteoporosis. You can find support groups that gather physically on a regular basis on an online community for support.
Hire in home care- Private duty in home care can help lift the burden of caregiving. These professionals will come along side you to ensure that all of your loved ones daily needs are met. Certified Nursing Assistants or Home Health Aides are licensed to perform personal care tasks like bathing as well as assist with household chores, meal preparation and grocery shopping. Some agencies even have Registered Nurses or Licensed Practical Nurses to provide medication management.
Make your wellbeing a priority- Because your loved one(s) are depending on you, you need to be the best version of yourself. You need to know that taking time to read a book, take a walk, clean your house, or soak in a bubble bath is okay. You need to set time aside to recharge and refocus in order to give your best to your family. To make sure that life does not get in the way, block off time on a weekly basis to do what makes you happy. Remember not to neglect yourself and your own health issues because you’re busy caring for an aging loved one.