The stress of providing long-term care to an aging family member often starts off slowly and builds over time. This can make it difficult for caregivers to notice the subtle effects stress has on their emotional and physical health until it’s already taken a large toll. For this reason, it’s recommended that family caregivers use regular stress checks to identify some of the warning signs indicating they could benefit from additional support.
Performing a Stress Check
Because caregivers are often short on time, stress checks are designed to be completed in a matter of minutes. This simple tool involves a checklist of questions caregivers can use to assess their level of stress. These checklists can be easily found online and include questions that pertain to a caregiver’s daily activities, emotions, and physical symptoms. After answering the questions, you can add up your points and compare it to a listing of normal guidelines to determine if you’re highly stressed.
Constant Feelings of Irritation
One of the most common signs of excess stress is constantly feeling irritated. It’s normal to become irritated every now and then as a family caregiver, but if you’re lashing out at others frequently, this could mean you’re experiencing caregiver burnout. The responsibilities of caregiving may be too overwhelming, or you may need to socialize with someone other than your loved one. Stop taking on more than you can handle, and allow others to help. You could also join a caregiver support group where you can receive advice from other caregivers who understand what you’re going through.
A professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of advice and support when it comes to handling your caregiving responsibilities. Though you may be researching multiple agencies that provide senior care, Home Care Assistance has much to offer your family and your elderly loved one. We are leaders in the senior home care industry, offering proprietary programs like our holistic Balanced Care Method and around-the-clock assistance from reliable, experienced caregivers. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your loved one enjoy a happier and healthier life in the golden years.
Low Daily Energy Levels
Another major sign you’re under too much stress is a constant lack of energy. If you don’t have the energy to perform daily activities or care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for your loved one. You need to find a good balance between caregiving and tending to your personal and professional commitments. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep each night, eat healthy, and exercise on a regular basis. Taking these steps can boost your mood and energy levels.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Austin families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.
Benefits of Checking for Stress
When you experience a high level of stress without taking a break, you could become more susceptible to burnout. Caregivers who are highly stressed are also more likely to experience physical ailments and depression. By performing a stress check regularly, you can avoid many of the negative side effects of providing care.
Managing Stress as a Caregiver
After a stress check signifies you’re feeling overwhelmed by your duties, it’s important to be proactive and implement strategies to manage high levels of stress. Taking a break is one of the most effective ways to manage caregiver stress. Although it may be difficult to ask for help, families who arrange for other caregivers to provide respite find that everyone benefits from the arrangement. When you’re relaxed and comfortable, you’ll be able to provide better care for your loved one while also safeguarding your own wellbeing.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality elder care, Austin Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (512) 623-7800