Stress and Caregiving Anyone who is in or has been in a caregiving role is aware of how stressful it can be. You are not alone.
Gallup did research on just how stressful the role of caregiver can be and the results are clear, caregivers experience more stress and depression then the average adult. This leads to a decline in physical health as well. Somewhat surprising is the fact that young caregivers, those under age 45, exhibit the greatest deficit when compared with their non-caregiving counterparts. You can read the full results of the study here So where can these stressed out caregivers find some relief?
Many national organizations have local chapters to help with resources for caregivers such as respite support, reliable home health workers and support groups. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of support to caregivers caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. They even have partnerships with corporations to assist working caregivers and a helpline 1.800.272.3900. The Family Caregiver Alliance offers education, local support groups and even products caregivers may need to make caregiving easier. Caring.com has helpful tips and resources for finding companion care as well as articles and information to help guide you in making decisions for higher level of care when it is needed.
Family and community.
One of the hardest things about caregiving can be the isolation caregivers feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family members and other support systems like your church community and neighbors. Even if it is to ask for someone to take over for an hour or two so you can de-stress and recharge, it can make a meaningful difference in your physical and mental health. You may be surprised at how many have been in your situation and are happy to lend a hand. Don’t go it alone, make sure you have a good friend or two to talk to on those especially tough days. Sometimes just 20 minutes of venting frustration can give you the energy to get through the day.
If the task of caregiving is becoming too much and you are not finding the resources you need in your network, professional support is available. Ask your primary physician if they can make a recommendation for a professional who understands the stress you are experiencing and who can assist you in managing that stress. The American Psychological Association can also help you find resources in your area.
I am in the process of planning single day and weekend long retreats for stressed out caregivers in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area. Please share what topics and types of support you would find most helpful and if you are interested in attending a retreat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.