Caring for a loved one is something most of us do out of love and compassion. And, it can be very rewarding. However, being a caregiver can also be overwhelming, leading to stress, depression and other physical ailments. It is important that you take care of yourself in order to care for others.
How to deal with caregiver stress
The emotional and physical demands of caregiving can strain even the most resilient person. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of the many resources and tools available to help you. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
Tips to help manage caregiver stress:
- Accept help. Make a list of things that other people could do that would help you and be prepared to accept the help that they offer. People want to help but oftentimes don’t know how.
- Focus on what you are able to do. It is perfectly normal to feel guilty sometimes. I know I did. Just understand that no one is perfect. You are doing the best you can!
- Set realistic goals. Break large tasks into smaller ones. Prioritize, make lists and get in to a daily routine. Begin to say no to requests that are draining, such as hosting holiday meals.
- Get connected. Find out about caregiving resources in your community or online. In the Coachella Valley there are many ways to get connected. Check out our Community Resources Page for links to local senior centers and other resources that can help you.
- Join a support group. A support group can provide validation, encouragement, and problem-solving strategies. The Cathedral City Senior Center, Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs, and the Alzheimer’s Association are just a few of the many places in the local area that have Caregiver Support Groups. Contact them today for more information.
- Seek out social support. Make an effort to stay connected with family and friends who can offer emotional support. Set aside time each week for connecting, even if it’s just a walk with a friend.
- Set personal health goals. First of all, fuel your body with healthy foods and drink plenty of water. Establish a routine for some sort of physical activity. Even if it’s high-stepping in place while you’re watching the morning news.
- See your doctor. Get recommended immunizations and screenings. Make sure to tell your doctor that you’re a caregiver. Don’t hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you have.
Do You Need More Help?
If you get to the point where you are wondering if Assisted Living is a possible option, local referral services, like Senior Living Options of the Desert, can help.
The Family Advisors at Senior Living Options of the Desert help families determine the appropriate type of care for their loved one. A 10-15 minute consultation is usually enough time for a Family Advisor to determine right kinds of care to explore. If you are in the process of making the determination right now, we encourage you to contact us for free guidance.
But whether or not you speak with an Advisor, it can be empowering to educate yourself about the options.
Remember, you aren’t alone
If you’re like many caregivers, you have a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed. Seek support.