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Caregivers of Older Adults

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Caregiver Stress is Real!

  
  
  

Fortune CookieI have tried, I have given, I just can't take anymore. I am exhausted and feel like I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I have never even had one day alone in my home in 10 years.”

This quote is from one of the hundreds of online blogs that help caregivers vent and perhaps get some support from others dealing with similar situations.  If you are a caregiver for an aging parent, a sibling or a spouse, you may be experiencing some of these same exact sentiments. 

Many times family caregivers leap into the role feeling it is their responsibility; with little experience along with promises of help from family members, and often times find themselves years later still waiting for those offers of assistance.  Instead issues of depression and anxiety are frequently the result of not recognizing the need for self-care. 

Much like the caregiver quoted above, the daily challenges of caregiving can leave a person frustrated and angry along with a sense of guilt feeling unprepared or just not good enough. Caregiving can also be very isolating; leaving the person little time or energy to socialize.

In his blog, The Unprepared Caregiver, Dr. Zachary White tackles a myriad of caregiver issues.  His take on how stress turns us away from others is thought provoking:

Stress isn’t like fear. When we fear something, like watching a horror movie, we want to spend time in the company of others because we believe we will be okay simply because we aren’t alone.  Stress, on the other hand, tricks us into believing that we can best ‘solve’ stress alone, behind closed doors, in the privacy of our own thoughts. Stress is at its most dangerous when it convinces us to turn away from others by telling ourselves, ‘Others wouldn’t get it,’ and ‘I’m different than others’ and ‘I don’t want to burden others with my problems.’ When this happens, stress not only changes how we think, it pushes people away from us.”

If you feel as though your life is no longer yours due to caregiving and stress has taken over, it may be time to take charge of your life once again.  Finding support and training for caregiving may be as easy as going online.  mmLearn.org provides over 200 free videos for caregivers of older adults with many that address the challenges of stress and the caregiver including Caregiver Stress presented by Andrea Wirt, RN, The Nature of Coping is a series given by Dr. Edward Shafranske, Ph.D as well as Caregiver Stress Related to Dementia presented by Liliana Oakes, MD., CMD.  The time to take your life back is now!

The mission of mmLearn.org is to provide caregivers with online training and education that improve the quality of care received by older adults.

Comments

Wow. That blog really does hit home. Maybe you can follow this with some hints on how to handle stress when there really is no one to help. So many articles post common, sometimes unrealistic tips..... But many times I have no where else to hide but the rest room........ If that.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 23, 2013 9:18 PM by Reese N
Reese - you're absolutely correct - so many times caregivers are given unrealistic tips about taking better care of themselves without recognizing how to do this when no one is around to lend a hand. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes alone to gather your thoughts and perhaps say a little prayer to help guide you through the rest of the day. Actually the bathroom is not a bad place. Perhaps setting up a little centering space somewhere in your home with some candles, favorite photos, soft music - a kind of getaway right in your own home. Knowing that space is there and available whenever you need it might be a good place to start. I hear you and you're not alone.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:33 PM by virginia
Your reply about setting up a little centering space in your home is good advice. Sometimes, though, one feels the need to leave the house, without having to plan for someone to take our place. Other times, staying at home, without anyone else around.  
 
I take it a moment at a time. Some times the stress builds up and catches me by surprise. 
 
I am thankful that I have the financial resources (not unlimited though) to hire an agency. It took me three years to find the agency, though. Even then, only one of the five people has been prompt, dependable, consistent, professionally caring and she is a young 25 year old. If I could have her around all the time I need, life would be great!  
 
My father is 88 years old with Dementia of the Alzheimer's type and I am in the fourth year of caring for him full-time. 
 
I discovered mmLearn the first year of my father's diagnosis and the beginning of my caring for him and for that I am most thankful. Your videos are great tools.
Posted @ Friday, April 26, 2013 8:50 AM by Andrea Martinez
Thanks Andrea - as a caregiver just having the opportunity to have some time alone to take a walk, to breathe or do absolutely nothing are things that non-caregivers take for granted. Thanks for your comments, it's important to hear from those who are very often forgotten as you go through caring for your loved ones every day.
Posted @ Friday, April 26, 2013 8:57 AM by virginia
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