Providing care for an older or disabled loved one is certainly a noble and rewarding undertaking, but unfortunately, it also can place strain and stress on family members. Meeting the needs of someone else means having less time to take care of our own needs. No one can do it all, and sooner or later, something will suffer: our career, other relationships, hobbies and interests, and especially our own self-care. And one emotion that often goes hand in hand with stress is guilt, for feeling less than adequate.
It’s normal to want to do it all yourself rather than reaching out for help. We may feel as though we know best what the care recipient needs, and no one else will be able to meet those needs in quite the right way. However, this way of thinking can actually be harmful. Caregiver stress can escalate into caregiver burnout, exhibiting as follows:
- Sleep problems
- And much more
And as the caregiver struggles through symptoms like these, their loved one is also paying a price. It’s critical for those caring for an older adult or disabled individual to be sure to implement a strong support network, rather than attempting to go it alone. Hearts at Home shares these helpful tips to reduce stress and keep caregiver burnout from becoming an issue:
- Remain in control. Feeling empowered (as much as possible) in your caregiving role can go a long way towards improving your outlook. Keep in mind that your decision to provide care is only one solution in a variety of options, and alternatives can be considered if it becomes too hard.
- Drop the blame. It’s normal to feel helpless when witnessing your loved one’s difficulties, as well as your own, and to wonder, “Why me?” Rather than seeking blame for the situation, try instead to find the positives, like building a closer relationship with your loved one through the additional time you’re spending together.
- Seek help. One of the most challenging aspects of caring for a loved one is accepting assistance from well-meaning family and friends. However, it’s critical to both the caregiver’s and care recipient’s quality of life and wellbeing. Accepting respite care from trusted family and friends, or a professional senior care company like Hearts at Home, can help greatly reduce stress levels.
Hearts at Home of Kansas offers safe, experienced senior in-home care that helps family members avoid caregiver burnout. It’s been documented that older adults and others who need care receive higher quality care when their caregivers are free from overwhelming stress. Hearts at Home’s services are individualized to each person, and can include any or all of the following:
- Transportation and escorting to doctors’ appointments and other outings
- Nutritious meal planning and preparation
- Light housework and laundry
- Running errands
- And much, much more
Contact Hearts at Home at 913-440-4209 to learn more!