If you are a caregiver, you are dealing with stress. The question is, do you even realize how much stress your responsibilities are putting upon you? When in the thick of things we often don’t realize the emotional, physical, and mental toll being laid upon us. To help you determine what level of stress you may be experiencing in your role as a caregiver, the site caregiverstress.com has a quick survey developed by a group of leading elder care and caregiver stress experts.
After taking the survey, the assessment of your responses will give you resources to help you make your job as a caregiver more rewarding and help you maintain your health and emotions. What are some basic ways you can cope with stress as a caregiver? Review these helpful ideas:
- Put your physical needs first. Eat nutritious meals. Rest is extremely important. Nap if you must. Make sure you visit your own doctor regularly. Exercise can lift your spirits and keep you healthy; make it a priority, even if you need to ask someone else to provide care while you exercise. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, seek medical help immediately.
- Nurture friendships. Don’t be isolated. Friendships keep negativity at bay.
- Enlist help. Maybe the caregiving can’t be delegated, but are there other things that can be taken care of for you by friends or family? Make a list, and recruit others. Ever had a person say, “If there’s anything I can do, let me know”? Call them.
- Remember community help. Look into geriatric care managers, home health aides, home repair services, even homemakers to share the responsibilities you’re managing yourself. Are there volunteers available from organizations or civic groups in your area?
- Rest. Take a break. Remember it benefits you, and it might be just the thing your relative needs to see a new face. Look into adult day care, home health agency, or a board-and-care home for short-term help.
- Pay attention to your emotions. Share your feelings with trusted friends or family, or if need be, a professional counselor. Look into a caregiver support group.
- Take the time to relax. Find something that recharges your batteries and do it. Reading, walking, meditating, or prayer.
- Be organized. Even in little ways, having your ducks in a row alleviates stress. Get a to-do list, or if you have a smart phone or pda, use the tools provided for organization.
- Practice saying NO. You do not need to take on everything. If you’re asked to participate in something and you know it’s going to stretch you too thin, say no – and don’t feel guilty.
- Work on being positive. Resolve conflicts, even if it means you call an elder care mediator. Focus on all the amazing things you’re doing, instead of the things you can’t. And feel proud of all the wonderful things you do as a caregiver.