When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a caregiver is often faced with the mental, physical, emotional, medical and financial challenges of caring for a loved one.
Caring for a senior can be rewarding but is never easy. Caregivers may get burnout as a result of physical, emotional and exhaustion. Caregivers themselves also do need care too.
Caregiver stress is a condition of exhaustion, anger, rage, or guilt that results from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill dependent. It is important to watch out the early symptoms of a Caregiver Syndrome and to be able to take steps to control your stress.
8 Signs of Caregiver Stress
- Depression. Symptoms may include constant sadness, feelings of hopelessness and increased crying.
- Withdrawal. This can occur if you are depressed. You may not wish to see family and friends. You may stop taking part in things you used to enjoy. You just wished to be left alone.
- Anxiety. You may feel anxious to get things done or you may feel that you don’t have enough time, or about facing another day and what the future holds.
- Anger. Have difficulty in controlling your temper with other people. Caregivers often become angry at their loved one because they are sacrificing their own lives to care for them. Feeling angry at family members for not helping is also common.
- Loss of concentration. You are constantly thinking about your loved one and everything that you need to do. As a result, you have difficulty concentrating at home or at work.
- Changes in eating habits. This results in weight gain or loss, as well as increased illness.
- Insomnia. You may feel tired, but cannot sleep. Or, you may not feel tired even if your body is tired. You also may wake up in the middle of the night or have nightmares and stressful dreams.
- Exhaustion. If you frequently wake up feeling you can’t get out of bed despite a good night’s sleep, you’re in distress. Feeling lack of energy and not in the mood of doing anything is common.
8 Strategies for Controlling Your Stress
- Join social media Facebook Groups on Alzheimer Care Communities for availabe resources and how others are coping with a Caregiver’s job. Look for Alzheimer Caregiver Support Group. Share your experience and learn from others, knowing that you are not alone.
- Take more breaks, establish a daily routine task and ensuring your loved one is well cared for is one of the best ways to reduce stress.
- If you need financial help, don’t be afraid to ask family members to contribute their fair share.
- Keep in touch with family members and make time for yourself. Get someone to take care of your loved one for half a day and leave the house to run your errands or meet up your friends.
- Forgive yourself for your imperfections. You are learning how to care and knowing that you have already done your best. Do not feel guiltyThere is no such thing as a “perfect” caregiver.
- Identify what you can and cannot change. You may not be able to change your loved one’s behavior, but you can change the way that you react to it.
- Make time to be physically active on most days, even if it’s a short walk. Eat a healthy well-balanced diet and get enough sleep.
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