Managing Stress as a Caregiver
If you are a caregiver for an aging loved one, it’s very possible you’ve felt some form of caregiver stress. According to a study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, “45% of [caregivers] caring for a spouse or parent reported stress” based symptoms.
As caregivers, the best way to foster a healthy environment for our loved one is to manage our own feelings of being overwhelmed. The following will explore a brief guideline on how to manage caregiver stress!
Release yourself of ‘having to do it all’
The best way to manage caregiver stress is to embrace what you can do and accept that you cannot do everything. This may seem counterintuitive, as many caregivers feel a pressure that they must accomplish daily, super heroic feats. They have to make three meals a day, manage medications, interview the registered nurse, drive mom to her book club, and the list goes on!
It’s important to remind yourself that you are one person and only have 24 hours in a day. When you take on everything, you stretch yourself thin. This means you, your loved one, and your quality of care suffer. So, to truly combat caregiver stress, accept the fact that you cannot do everything.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Once you have accepted that not every minuscule task can be accomplished, it’s time to prioritize what you can do! Make a list of every daily task, and circle the items that are directly connected to the needs of your loved one. This should be crucial tasks like medication management, doctor’s visits, and mealtimes.
After you have found the caregiving tasks that must happen, it’s time to look at what remains on the list. Choose the items you can also take on and underline the tasks that may seem extraneous. These are things that you can delegate to your caregiver network!
Ask for help
The best thing you can do to alleviate caregiver stress is ask for help! When it feels as though you are responsible for a million things, try to delegate what you can. You can always reach out to your network for a lifeline!
A family friend can easily pick up mom’s groceries once a week. A local church can help get grandpa a ride to his bible study. A home health care agency can match you and your loved one with qualified healthcare assistance. There are networks of people out there that are ready and able to help you out!