Family caregivers are compassionate toward others but all too often neglect their own needs and care. This neglect can be due to a combination of things such as feeling that it’s selfish to take time away from their loved one for themselves, not feeling that they have time to care for themselves, not knowing how or where to find help, or being so busy that they don’t even realize when their own needs arise.
According to the Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center, “research shows that 65% of caregivers suffer from a major health event before the person who is receiving care.” This statistic reveals just a portion of the true cost of failing to consider your needs as a caregiver. Your needs and stress levels matter too, and there is no shame in asking for or accepting help.
Signs of Chronic Stress in Caregivers
Prolonged chronic stress is strongly linked with increased risk for diseases such as, “hypertension, heart disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and arthritis.”
Here are some signs that you may be suffering from chronic stress:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Feeling tired often
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Gaining or losing weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain, or other physical problems
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
Finding Support for Caregivers
Take the time to understand what resources are available to you before you need them so that you know where to find them when the time comes. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What could I use help with?
- What do my body and mind need?
- Do I have a support network to ask for help?
- Do I know where to go for informal and formal support?
- What are my local community resources?
The Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center recently held an online seminar with Elder Care Management’s Director of Care Management Gail Arno discussing this topic. Watch the video here and you’ll learn valuable tools and resources to promote your self-care during your caregiving journey.
Topics Covered | Modern Day Caregivers: The Importance of Caring for Those Who Care (Livestream)
- Impact of caregiving
- Signs of stress and caregiver burnout
- Stress management tools and resources
- Formal and informal resources & support