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Recognizing Caregiver Stress

By , 9:00 am on

There is no question that providing at-home care for an elderly parent is stressful. Yet when we focus so intently on the needs of another, we often fail to recognize how this stress is manifesting itself in our lives.  The Mayo Clinic identified a handful of key signs of caregiver stress that can affect both mental and physical health.

Feeling Overwhelmed or Constantly Worried

Caregiving disrupts everyday life in many concrete ways. Taking care of your own responsibilities and adding the new responsibilities of caring for another can create substantive time-management challenges and concern for the one we are caring for. This is also often connected to feeling tired often or sleeping too much or too little.

Gaining or Losing a Lot of Weight

Our psychological and behavioral relationship to food is inherently complex. It is a reward and source of comfort for some and a punishment or form of self-denial for others. The stress of caregiving can easily exaggerate this relationship by encouraging you to eat too much or too little. Disruptions to sleep patterns can exacerbate weight gain and loss as well.

Experiencing Aches and Pains

Mental stress easily transitions to physical stress and it can manifest itself in many ways, from high blood pressure to headaches and from diabetes to back pain.  

Feeling Sad, Angry, or Irritated

Depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders can easily manifest themselves as through anger and irritation or losing interest in formerly enjoyable activities.

Abusing Alcohol or Drugs

In order to cope with this stress and the signs already discussed, some caregivers turn to alcohol and drugs, including prescription medications that are intended for the loved one being cared for, as a coping mechanism or form of relief from the stress and pressures of being a family caregiver.  

If you’re the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, know you’re not alone. You can find the help and resources you need through Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained Fairfield caregivers can provide high-quality care for your loved one while you take time to unwind and regroup. Call an experienced Care Manager today at 203-955-1915 and schedule a free in-home consultation today.