Being the caregiver for a family member can really take its toll on your own health and well-being. While many of us stepped up to the role of a caregiver without a second thought, doing so can often bring unexpected changes and stress to our lives. It is important to figure out how or why you are feeling stressed as a caregiver so that you can address it before you completely burn out and are no longer able to care for your loved one anymore. Here are some of the root causes of caregiver stress and how to fix them.

 

Always being “On Duty”

 

Part of being a caregiver means you are always connected – either physically or emotionally – to the person you are caring for, and there is often a lot of tasks and jobs that need to be done. This can leave you feeling like you are constantly on alert – watching for their needs or anticipating what they might ask you for – and that can be very draining on your well-being.

How to fix this

You need to figure out what you can realistically do and what tasks you can streamline or cut back on. This could include using delivery services where possible (like for meals or medications) or hiring a home care worker to come in a few days a week so you can take some time for yourself.

 

Being Physically Exhausted or Worn Out

 

Meeting the needs of your loved one can be physically exhausting for your body. Even though you are exhausted and just want to sleep, you may find yourself awake at night, making lists of all the things you still need to do and planning for the next day. This can lead to poor sleep quality – leaving you exhausted and edgy all the time.

How to fix this

The reality is that you cannot provide care for your loved one if your physical well-being is poor. By putting yourself at risk for illness or letting your own health slide, you are also risking the well-being of the loved one you are caring for. Make sure you listen to your body and what it needs. You may need to make a doctor’s appointment for yourself, plan to eat healthier and maybe ask for help so you can get a good night’s rest.

 

Not sure what you’re doing

 

You love your family member, and you have the very best intentions, but that does not mean you always know what you are doing – and that is ok. You are a family member, not a medical professional, so it is totally understandable that you may not always know what or how you should be doing. Many caregivers are dealing with complicated medical conditions they do not really have much experience with, so many caregivers are really just trying to keep their heads above water.

How to fix this

Recognizing that you lack the knowledge and that you may need help is a great first step. Asking your loved one’s doctors and medical team any questions you might have can give you some safety and security in knowing that what you are doing is right. There may also be support groups for your loved one’s specific medical conditions, so you can ask questions and find support from others going through the same experiences as you are.

 

Feeling Alone

 

You may find that your entire life becomes centered around caring for your loved one and making sure their needs are met, so when do you have the time to do the things you love? It is possible you could go days – or even weeks – without talking to anyone but your loved one or their doctors or other medical professionals. This can make it hard to socialize and have your own life.

How to fix this

Keeping some kind of balance between caring for your loved one and having your own life is important to make sure you are not feeling alone. You can ask your family to help out with caring for your loved one or look at other care options (like day programs or home care), so you get some time for yourself.

 

Contact VERA Home Care today

If you need some help caring for a loved one, contact VERA Home Care today to discuss your options. Having a home care worker to take some of the load off of your shoulders can be a great benefit to both you and the loved one that you are caring for.