Take a look around and you will find that many of your family members, friends or even acquaintances might be caring for an aging parent or grandparent in their home. And if they aren’t doing so right now,
they expect to become primary caregivers at some point of time in life. Sometimes caregiving could entail a few weeks of work as your parent or other senior family member recovers from an illness or accident. But more often than not, caregiving becomes a prolonged situation.
For those who spend their time balancing caregiving with a job or their family, every day can be overwhelming. This is especially true if a senior’s caregiving needs increase further as they age. Caregiver stress and burnout is real, and it needs to be dealt with as you would any other health crisis.
It is important to recognise warning signs or symptoms of caregiver stress. For instance, if you see yourself crying easily or becoming too emotional, or if you experience frequent headaches, you could be dealing with chronic stress. Your sleep cycle may also get affected, resulting in frequent mood swings. You may lose appetite, or resort to stress eating. You could be distancing yourself from social situations and your loved ones. If you witness one or more of these symptoms, it is vital to take them seriously.
Here is a list of things you should do to effectively manage chronic stress as a caregiver.
1. Allow yourself some ‘me time’
We understand that caring for a senior, especially if they need constant attention, leaves very little time for anything else. However, you still do need to take care of your health to be able to care for your loved ones. Taking out even 30 minutes a day to do something you love can be extremely helpful. You could take a walk in the park, meditate, read a book, listen to music, or simply sit by yourself and take a deep breath.
2. Get others to pitch in
It is impossible and exhausting for one person to do everything by themselves. So make sure that you have other people in the family who can help you out from time to time. Familiarise them with the process of caregiving, and get them to take over from you once in a while. That way, you can also rest assured knowing that if you are unable to care for your senior, there is someone else who will be able to. Knowing this also does wonders to reduce the stress you face as a caregiver.
3. Seek support from a group
Talking to someone who is in the same boat as you are can be very helpful in managing caregiver stress. You could always join a support group for caregivers and seek solutions to your problems, or even just some validation. People in such groups are more likely to understand your situation, and offer the guidance or advice that you need to manage stress.
4. Exercise and eat well
This may be an oft-repeated mantra, but exercise, coupled with a good diet, is one of the most effective ways to manage chronic stress. Even if you take out 15-20 minutes a day to get in some high-intensity workout, it will not only provide health benefits, but also improve your mood. Taking care of your diet is also a good way to keep your mind sharp and strong. Limit your intake of junk food, and focus on clean eating to improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing.
5. Get professional help
You may find it difficult to trust an outsider to take care of your loved ones. But getting professional help can not only help your seniors recuperate better, but also give you enough time to manage your stress. You could opt for credible in-home services that offer medical assistance, advice, and companionship to a senior. That way, your loved one can manage their daily life from the comfort of their home, while also allowing you to oversee everything.
If you, like many other caregivers, are facing a hard time managing stress, take advantage of Antara’s Care at Home services. We act as your trusted healthcare partner for your loved ones by offering a mix of personalized care and attention by a diligent team of highly trained professionals.
From home critical care, and nursing, to home diagnostics and physiotherapy, we bring the entire healthcare ecosystem to your doorstep. So, stop struggling on your own, and get in touch with us for quality and responsive healthcare for your seniors. Call us today on (+91) 98114-41111