The responsibilities and challenges of caring for a loved one can place significant stress on the family caregiver. In fact, this stress can build up and cause caregiver distress—a situation where the caregiver may become more susceptible to other health risks, including depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and nagging health problems such as headaches.
To help family caregivers combat this potential for caregiver distress, our Ask Nurse Gina has five tips to help reduce Caregiver Stress.
Exercise: When schedules get busy, exercise is usually the first thing to go. Make sure the caregiver in your family has time each day for some form of physical activity. Whether that is taking a daily walk, caring for a garden, taking a yoga class at the neighborhood gym or bicycling through the park with friends, caregivers need to have time to exercise.
Sleep: Everyone needs a full night’s sleep. Sleep isn’t just a luxury; it’s essential for your health and well-being. The family caregiver should try to get at least seven hours a night. If the person you are caring for gets up at night, then the caregiver needs to ask someone to take a few nights a week so they can get the necessary rest they need.
Hire help. Many caregivers find themselves taking on the caregiving role alone. Caring for someone is a big job. If other family members are not as involved, then ask them for help. Be very specific in the help you need. If family and friends are not local or unable to help, then hire help, even if it’s part-time or a couple days per week.Check out the services FirstLight Home Care can provide your family caregiver.
Find a community. Caregivers need to know that they are not alone. Interacting with others who are going through what you’re going through can be a huge help to reduce caregiver stress. Support groups can help connect you to others, as well as to care giving resources.
Caregiving can have many rewards. For most caregivers, being there when a loved one needs you is a core value and something you wish to provide. If you can reduce the stress that your family caregiver can go through you will improve the caring experience.
Photo Source: Accessible Home Living