Stress: When You are the Caregiver

The challenges of taking care of an ill or disabled loved one can place significant stress on a family caregiver.  Unfortunately, dealing with daily stress makes caregivers susceptible to health issues themselves. Caregivers often exhibit signs of stress such as high blood pressure and sleep issues.  This stress can even suggest an increased risk of stroke.

Care of a loved one is a continuous job.  Our ability to control the daily stress that the job brings is key to staying healthy.  So, it is critical to relieve some of this stress, so you don’t end up and incapable of caring for those who rely on you.

Here are a few ideas that might help:

Establish a daily routine

While this can be challenging in the case of a family member who needs continual attention, but wherever possible, get yourself and your loved one on some sort of a routine.  Prioritize and, if possible, delegate tasks to others.  Accept as a fact that there will be times that the schedule will need to be altered.

What can you control?

Instead of stressing over things that you can’t control (like the disability with which our loved one struggles), focus on the things you can control such as how you react to the situation.  Try not to spend your time worrying about why or how this disability came about since it won’t change what is needed right now.  Instead, work on ways to make daily life easier for your loved one and yourself.

Ask for help.

If possible, take a break and ask someone to help you.  You are human.  You will occasionally tired and need to take a break. It may even be good for your loved one to get used to different caregivers and not rely solely on you.

Keeping organized.

With all the doctors’ visits, medication changes and menu modifications, it may seem difficult to be organized, but organization relieves stress. You may find that de-cluttering is a good start to getting organized.

Try to Stay positive.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, realize how much you are already doing.  Focus on how much you are helping your loved one and how strong you are for doing it.

Caring for a loved one who is disabled or ill is challenging.  It can also be very rewarding.  The experience can offer many positive effects on the entire family.  Never forget, however, that giving proper care to your loved one includes not allowing stress to destroy your own health and happiness.

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