How to Deal with Stress from Caring for Elderly Parents
Caregiver Burnout Prevention
Caring for the elderly is a lot of work and responsibility, but it can be rewarding as well. However, caregivers often find themselves overworked or burned out.
Researchers from the American Psychological Association have found that caregivers experience a 23% higher level of stress hormone than any other profession. High-stress hormones can lead to elevated blood pressure and glucose levels, thereby contributing to chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. Because of the adverse health effects that burnouts can cause, it’s important to find strategies to prevent burnout.
Some tips and tricks entail finding people that you can trust to talk to about your feelings and frustrations. If things get really intense, talking to a therapist can help. There are also caregiver support groups where you can find not only advice but others who understand your situation. Don’t forget to set goals and boundaries to prevent getting overworked or overwhelmed. Always take time to socialize with your friends and family as well as taking time for yourself. Your health is essential, so make sure you choose the right supplement. Vivolor Therapeutics has a quality supplement to improve mood, energy level, and brain function.
With that in mind, here are some insights on how to deal with being a caregiver and ways to prevent burnouts.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiving is a long-term challenge, and the emotional impact can be very overwhelming. You may not feel the effects during the first few months of caregiving, but after caregiving for years, the weight of responsibility and often lack of relief can be heavy.
Burnout can originate from feeling that there’s no hope that a family member will get better despite your best efforts and dedication. If the stress goes unmanaged, it can take a toll on your (the caregiver’s) relationships, state of mind, and health. Eventually, it can spiral into physical exhaustion, mental issues, and negative emotions. This is why caregivers need to take care of themselves as well and cultivate their emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
Get sick easily
Burnout can lead to a weaker immune system, which can result in constant cold and flu symptoms.
Constant fatigue, despite getting an adequate amount of sleep or taking a break, may indicate a burnout.
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Problems relaxing or clearing your mind, despite trying to do so.
Loss of control
Feeling helpless and hopeless about the situation where the elders are gradually deteriorating, and it seems there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Being constantly irritated and impatient with the loved one. Often it results in being impatient with yourself as well.
How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Feeling powerless is the most common aspect of burnout, and it’s easy to fall victim to it. There are ways to feel empowered and to avoid caregiver burnout.
When a loved one’s illness gets to the point that it is too much, it’s best not to dwell on the things that cannot be changed. Accepting their behavior, physical limitations and mental attitudes lead to less resistance and more peaceful existence.
Embrace Your Choices
Even though resentment of your situation is common, it’s best to acknowledge that being a caregiver is a conscious choice. That means focusing on the positive reasons behind that choice.
For example, being a caregiver for an elderly parent may indicate a repayment for the care that they provided you growing up.
Look on the Bright Side
Look for the silver lining, and think about ways being a caregiver can make you stronger and how it can bring you closer to your family member.
Don’t Let Caregiving Take Over Your Life
Don’t let caregiving take over your life and entire existence. Acknowledge that there are areas in your life that are still rewarding. Invest in the places where you find meaning and purpose such as favorite hobbies, going out with the family, going to church, or your career. Making time for these rewarding activities and focusing on remembering and enjoying them can help save you from burnout.
Focus on What You Can Control
Rather than stressing out on things that cannot be controlled, focus on how to react to the problem. After all, your reaction is the only thing that you can control. If you can’t control the situation, you can control your reaction and choose to respond positively to the situation.
Celebrate Small Victories
Instead of feeling discouraged, acknowledge that every effort matters. You don’t have to cure your family members’ illness to make a difference. Don’t underestimate the power of making someone feel safe, comfortable, and loved.
Imagine How Your Parents Would Respond if They Were Healthy
Loved ones suffering from dementia do not behave like themselves. Some can get aggressive or violent. They cover up their forgetfulness and lack social graces and politeness. You can try to remember how they would have responded when they were healthy if they were supportive back then. Would they likely be a caregiver for you if you were sick? How can you envision them in a better place, assuming good intentions, even if they are not behaving that way at the moment.
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Ask for Caregiving Help
Taking all the responsibility of a caregiver without any assistance is brutal. Many of those being cared for cannot be left alone for a second. This constant pressure can lead to burnouts at the speed of light. Don’t do this alone. Feel free to ask for help. Find others who can give you breaks, even if for a short period of time. Consider care homes that allow hourly or working day drop offs. Places where your loved one can play games and/or get a change or environment.
Enlist the help of friends and family who live nearby to bring a hot meal, watch the loved one, or run some errands. There are also volunteers or paid support that can provide in-home services. Adult daycare centers and nursing homes can provide 24-hour care to your loved ones.
Don’t expect people around you to know how you feel. It’s essential to speak up and to let them know that you need help. If there are any ways to improve the situation, let others know so that they can help.
It is normal to feel guilty to ask for help or say yes, but don’t be shy. A lot of times, people feel good about helping or providing support. It’s a good idea to have a list of small tasks that other people can help with, such as driving the patient or picking up groceries.
Trying to control every aspect of the care can be very stressful. People are less likely to help if they feel micromanaged, so it’s best to relinquish some control and delegate the tasks.
Take Care of Your Own Health
The body is like a car and needs proper maintenance and fuel to run reliably. Neglecting it will only lead to stress, illness, and eventually, a burnout.
Here are ways to take care of your body, so you can confidently care for your loved ones.
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Don’t skip checkups or medical appointments; it’s vital to be healthy to take good care of your family members.
Exercise is a powerful mood enhancer and stress reliever. Try to exercise 30 minutes daily to boost energy levels and fight off fatigue.
Daily meditation and yoga can alleviate stress, bringing joy and happiness to your life. Even a few minutes can relieve an overwhelming day.
Replenish the body with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and lean meat. Avoid sugar and caffeine because they can lead to a severe crash.
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Get plenty of sleep
Most people need around eight hours of sleep, and it’s essential to get enough sleep to be productive and energized the next day. Having an ample amount of sleep can elevate the mood, energy, and reduce stress.
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Join a Caregiver Support Group
The caregiver support group is an excellent way to find people in similar situations and share experiences to become each other‘s support. Sometimes, it can be challenging to leave the house, but luckily there are online support groups that can help as well.
In the support group, people talk about their problems, and they listen to other people’s challenges and what they go through as a caregiver. They often have great ideas of what has worked for them.
The most important thing is to realize that you are not alone as a caregiver, and there are plenty of people out there in the same boat.
Being a caregiver is both stressful and rewarding. It’s great to be there for your loved ones, but if they have a disease like cancer or dementia, it can be devastating to watch them gradually deteriorate. This can make you feel hopeless, and the longer you feel this way, the more likely you are to burnout.
Fortunately, there are strategies such as keeping your body healthy and delegating tasks to other family members that can help reduce burnout.
In addition to that, using supplements to keep you healthy and energized can aid in conquering your tasks as a caregiver. If your loved one is suffering from memory loss, Vivolor Memory Support is a good option to improve their memory and quality of life..
Put these tips and tricks into practice to take care of yourself. You deserve it! Enjoy the time with your family.