A whopping three-quarters of caregivers report feeling physical, emotional or financial strain at some point during a year's span of caregiving. Unfortunately, these stresses can lead to long-term health and wellness complications. There are some things you can do, however, to mitigate stress and enjoy a balanced quality of life. It all begins with self care and that begins with loving yourself enough to take care of yourself too. Read on for four important ways to take better care of yourself while preventing caregiver stress syndrome.Read More
Caregivers of Older Adults
While caring for a loved one offers a unique sense of fulfillment, it also comes with many responsibilities. According to "Stress in America: Our Health at Risk," a study from the American Psychological Association, more than half of all caregivers feel overwhelmed. Not only that, but they are far more likely to feel stress -- and its consequences -- than those who are not caring for someone. Read on to learn what you need to know about caregiver stress and how you can combat it in your own life.
Caregiving offers fulfillment, but it's also hard work.
The Facts on Stress and Caregiving
Do you lay awake at night? Binge eat or miss meals? Skip routine doctor check-ups? If so, you're not alone. Unfortunately, these behaviors are common in caregivers, and can lead to long-term consequences.
Family caregivers are at increased risk for a number of health and wellness issues, ranging from heart disease to depression. Caregiver stress can also compromise your immune system and/or exacerbate pre-existing chronic health problems. Consider this eye-opening statistic: caregivers are five times more likely to get sick than non-caregivers. They even have a higher risk of premature mortality!
Caregivers are also more likely to feel like they're failing at adequately managing their stress levels. It can become a vicious cycle: in fact, many caregivers cite personal health as a primary source of their stress. Of course, awareness is a large part: to learn more about the signs and symptoms of caregiver stress, watch this video.
What Can You Do?
While caregivers often hear the phrase, "Don't forget to take care of yourself," this can be easier said than done. Here are some tangible ways to put yourself -- and your health -- first.
While asking for help can be hard, it's a significant part of overcoming overwhelmed feelings. Research shows that caregivers who feel supported not only have lower stress levels, but also experience fewer feelings of isolation. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Also, take advantage of community resources for caregivers. If you don't have a friend or family member to talk to, look into support groups at your local hospital, community center or senior center. Online forums are also a valuable outlet for many caregivers.
While caregiving abilities are not something that can be measured or quantified, many caregivers still feel like they're failing because they hold themselves to unattainable standards. Acknowledging your own efforts and setting clear boundaries can help you avoid feelings of guilt. Some caregivers find that setting small goals helps them to embrace the fulfilling aspects of caregiving.
If you work as a care giver for an individual with dementia, then you are likely aware of the confusion, frustration, and mood swings that often accompany neurodegenerative diseases. It takes tremendous patience and compassion to routinely work with those afflicted with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and even the most basic of habits can seem like daunting ordeals. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can aid dementia patients and help them live an easier and more fulfilling life. Music for dementia patients has proven to be tremendously useful in mitigating the core problems that dementia patients face.Read More
While caregiving is incredibly rewarding, it comes with a distinct set of psychological, emotional, and intellectual challenges. From dealing with the grief of losing a patient or watching your loved one decline, to ensuring meticulous oversight of medications, caregiving is challenging and can take its toll on both professional and family caregivers. Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources available to guide, educate and offfer help for caregivers. Here's a list of the top four resources available that can help you to succeed in your role as a caregiver.Read More
For many caregivers the time eventually comes when professional help is needed. Perhaps for just some much needed respite for the primary caregiver or maybe full time professional help is needed daily. Regardless of the circumstances, many people are immobilized by the process. How do you choose? What do I need in a private duty caregiver? There's no one-size-fits-all solution for your individual needs and circumstances; rather, a variety of factors go into identifying a professional caregiver and/or in-home caregiving agency. However, understanding the traits, characteristics and habits of the most successful caregivers can help you find a caregiver sure to make a significant contribution. Let's take a closer look at six beneficial caregiver traits of a good private duty caregiver.Read More
More than 20 million Americans over the age of 18 report some form of vision loss, according to a report from the American Foundation for the Blind. As we age, the risk of severe eye problems increases significantly -- particularly for seniors. While the physical effects of vision loss are frequently discussed, the emotional aspects of vision loss are often overlooked. Here's what you need to know to help your aging loved one cope with vision loss.
As care giver, your helping hand is more vital than ever.
A Different Kind of Grief
Seniors undergo many changes throughout the aging process. But awareness that these changes are coming doesn't make them easier to accept. In fact, the combined effects of aging -- including everything from housing issues to health threats -- can lead to extreme emotional distress for seniors.
Just like everyone else, seniors need to feel valued. Vision loss may detract from your aging loved one's sense of being valuable. In fact, some experts have compared what people go through when vision loss first occurs to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief. And just as all emotions are valid when grieving the loss of a loved one, they are equally valid when grieving vision loss. It's not unusual for seniors to react with denial, anger and depression when vision loss occurs. With ample care giver support, however, they can also reach acceptance.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease can feel overwhelming, and early treatment is essential to ensuring access to the very best care. If your aging loved one has recently received an Alzheimer's diagnosis and is in the beginning stages of the illness, here's what you need to know.
Grief is a fact of life: nearly everyone has to deal with loss during their lifetime. Grief doesn't just pertain to the death of a loved one, it can occur in response to the loss of anything dear to a person -- from a family pet to a job, to divorce or the loss of a home. Unfortunately, seniors are particularly vulnerable to grief...and its complications.
While grief is natural, it's also largely individualistic: there's no right or wrong way to grieve, although some methods can help the grieving process while others can hinder it. If your aging loved one is experiencing the sadness associated with loss, here are some things you can do to help facilitate the grieving -- and healing -- process.
While proper nutrition is an essential part of helping your aging loved one stay healthy, getting seniors to make the right food choices can be a challenge. Factor in misleading packaging geared to misrepresent a product's contents, and food labels become even more important. Caregivers can help older loved ones meet their daily nutritional needs -- while also acknowledging dietary restrictions -- by understanding and using Nutrition Facts labels. This is especially important when caring for someone with diabetes. Here's what you need to know.
Nutrition Facts are a caregiver's best friend.
Serving Size Matters
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that serving size and number of servings are the first place to look when inspecting a product's Nutrition Facts label. After all, the size of the package itself is less significant than how many servings are contained in the food package.
For example, if there are three servings in a bag of potato chips, but you eat the entire bag in one sitting you've had three times the serving...and triple the calories and nutrients.
Adverse drug reactions lead to more than 700,000 emergency room visits every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Of these, the majority are older adults, who are twice as likely to end up in the emergency room and almost seven times more likely to require hospitalization. While managing your aging loved one's medications can be challenging, doing so is an essential part of ensuring ongoing safety and wellness. Here are some helpful medication management tips and techniques for caregivers.Read More