What Can You Do to Prevent Caregiver Stress?
Caregiver stress is a specific type of stress that’s felt by family caregivers.
There’s so much that you’re juggling as a caregiver, and it might feel as if dropping even one of the plates you’re spinning will bring everything crashing down. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Double Check Your Expectations of Caregiving
If your expectations of yourself as a family caregiver are unrealistic, then you’re going to experience a big uptick in caregiver stress levels when you don’t meet those expectations. Being a family caregiver is stressful enough, but if you’re inadvertently adding to your own stress levels, that’s just wrong. Be honest with yourself about what you can do and what you can’t do. That’s far better than trying to force yourself to keep doing it all.
Keep being honest with yourself, too. Check-in with yourself periodically and look objectively at how you’re feeling about caregiver stress and what’s going on, both in your life as a person and your life as a family caregiver. When you’re noticing that your stress levels are rising, don’t ignore that. Do something about it.
Caregiver Stress: Take Breaks
One way that you can help to keep caregiver stress in check is to take breaks. You’re going to want to factor in two main types of breaks. Smaller breaks are ones that you’re taking every single day, in which you allow yourself to focus on something besides caregiving and your senior’s needs for a few minutes. These might be breaks when you go for a walk or you sit down to a healthy meal that keeps you fueled. Longer breaks are absolutely essential, too. Hire elder care providers to take over a few times a week. It’s more important than you realize.
Get as Much Support as You Can
So many family caregivers end up doing almost everything themselves. You don’t have to do that. If you’re keeping hold of everything because you’re trying to do everything “perfectly,” that doesn’t serve you or your senior. If you feel you don’t have anyone you can lean on, that might not be as true as it feels. Elder care providers can handle a lot of different types of tasks for your senior, and that can give you the breaks you need as well.
Completely eliminating stress as a family caregiver may not be possible, but there’s more you can control than you realize.