Fall River Jewish Home

Recognizing and Beating Caregiver Stress

With the changes in health care over the past decade, more and more spouses and adult children are becoming caregivers. As our population ages and hospital stays become shorter, it has become an inevitable part of many families’ lives. But juggling family, career and caregiving roles can be difficult. It is important that family caregivers learn how to recognize the warning signs of stress overload and know what to do about it.

Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress

The busier caregivers get the less likely they are to recognize they are headed for a health crisis of their own. These are a few of the warning signs that can indicate it is time for a caregiver to get help:

•   Easily tearful and emotional

•   Quick to anger

•   Unintentional weight gain or weight loss

•   Overindulging in alcohol, sleep aids, or caffeine

•   Troubled sleep or insomnia

•    Loosing contact with friends and other family

•    Lack of interest in favorite pastimes

•    Headaches or more frequent colds

 

Beating Caregiver Stress

When stress begins to take over, your own health may be at risk. Here are a few suggestions to help you get back on track:

•   Investigate respite care options in your community. Respite is usually available from in-home care agencies, as well as at most assisted living and nursing care communities. Many local churches and synagogues have friendly visitor programs to help family caregivers take a few hours off.

•   Try to eat a healthy diet. When you are rushed for time this may be difficult to do, but nutrition is more important than ever when you are under stress. Local grocery stores and restaurants usually have healthy foods that you can grab and go. Bagged lettuces and prepared vegetable trays, grilled chicken in the deli section, Greek yogurt and fresh fruits can all be easy and fast options.

•   Get some form of exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. You can break these minutes down if it makes it easier and still get the same benefit. For example, take a 15 minute walk in the morning and another one in the afternoon.

•    Ask for and accept help. Caregivers are often reluctant to do this. Try to think about the big picture. If you accept a few hours of help each week, it will keep you mentally and physically healthy in the long run. When it comes to caregiving, most of the time it is a role that will last for at least a few years.

Are you a caregiver? What helps you manage stress?

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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