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Caregivers face new challenges every day. The role of caregiver is demanding, dynamic, stressful, gut-wrenching, overwhelming, rewarding, and exhausting – often all at once. This combination of emotional and physical demands may leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to separate your actions from your emotions enough to calm your mind. Your care recipient is also subject to the same levels of anxiety or stress.

In a recent tip video shared by the Caregiver Resource Center OC, Family Consultant Carolina Castro Almeida discussed several ideas for calming both you and your care recipient. This list of ideas is informative and helpful for use during those overwhelming moments.

Stress and Anxiety || Additional Statistics and Context

The truth is that caregiving is stressful for both the caregiver and the care recipient. The stress one of you feels can also negatively impact the other, meaning it’s important to manage stress for everyone’s benefit. Here are some statistics on stress and anxiety in caregiving:

Who experiences stress?

In total, 63% of family caregivers report that their situation is moderately or highly stressful.

  • 45% of those caring for their spouse or a parent reported stress 
  • 35% of those caring for another relative reported stress  
  • 18% of those caring for a non-relative reported stress 

(Source: AARP)

What problems does stress cause?

Beyond the obvious short term issues such as a short temper, forgetfulness, raised blood pressure, etc., there are longer-term implications such as:

  • Depression. Roughly 40% to 70% of family caregivers display clinically significant symptoms of depression. (Source)
  • Cardiovascular Disease. Ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke are at increased risk due to prolonged stress.
  • Obesity. Prolonged stress is linked to higher rates of obesity and eating disorders.
  • Menstrual Problems
  • Skin and Hair Problems. Acne, hair loss, eczema, and more can be triggered by stress.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems. Stress can trigger GERD, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, and more.

(Source: WebMD)

How can I reduce stress in myself or my loved one?

Reducing stress can be done in countless ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Slow Down. Often we’re putting stress on ourselves by sticking rigidly to unrealistic timelines. Whatever task you’re doing right now, slow it down and give yourself the time to think and breathe your way through it.
  • Declutter. A cluttered space (outer chaos) can lead to inner turmoil. Make time to comb through belongings. Give each item a space where it can feel “put away,” or sell/donate items that are no longer useful.

Looking for additional information? Connect with your local Caregiver Resource Center today!

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