Caring for an aging adult is a rewarding experience. Accompanying the feelings of satisfaction, however, is overwhelming stress. Caregiver stress syndrome can develop when caregivers feel responsible for a care recipient 24 hours a day, draining their emotional, physical, and mental strength.
Assuming the role of caregiver is an immense responsibility. The caregiver is responsible for the daily physical needs of the elderly person, as well as being a constant source of emotional support. Over time, the pride found in caregiving can turn to burnout—or caregiver stress syndrome.
Caregivers are diverse, with some being spouses or adult children, and others being friends or partners. Usually, the care recipient enjoys a personal relationship with the caregiver. The caregiver supports the older adult who suffers from a debilitating physical or mental health condition.
Caregiving is commonplace in the United States. Family members providing care to an elderly loved one number in the millions. Over one-third of caregivers provide over 20 hours of care per week. More than half of all caregivers support a senior for at least 24 months.
The daily amount of care coupled with the duration of care can be taxing on caregivers. Not only is their physical health challenged, but their emotional well-being is difficult to maintain. The physical and emotional exhaustion come from the enormous workload associated with constant caregiving.
People providing ongoing care are responsible for managing the senior’s doctors’ appointments, financial affairs, and home—all while juggling their own families, children, and careers. A decline in the caregiver’s health is an inevitable outcome, unless their stress is managed properly.
What is caregiver stress syndrome?
Fulfilling the care needs of another individual 24 hours a day means that the caregiver has less time to engage in self-care activities. Symptoms of caregiver stress syndrome can emerge. The emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion affects the caregiver’s ability to provide quality care to a loved one.
The caregiver who is overwhelmed by the demands of the role begin to feel fatigue, negativity, and even hopelessness. These negative emotions can sap the caregiver’s ability to care for themselves—which adversely impacts their ability to be a good caregiver to the aging care recipient.
What are signs of caregiver stress syndrome?
Symptoms of caregiver stress can manifest physically and be readily apparent, while others may be internal and less visible. Over-stressed caregivers can feel constantly tired, sad, or worried. As a result of prolonged stress, they may anger easily or become irritated over trivial matters.
Feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion can lead to sleepless nights or, conversely, excessive sleep. The caregiver stress can cause the caregiver to lose interest in leisure activities that were once enjoyable. Caregivers who do not know how to manage their stress can turn to drugs or alcohol.
Physical manifestations of stress can emerge, too. Caregivers who are burned out may unintentionally lose or gain weight, causing a deterioration in health. Excessive stress from ongoing caregiving can lead to frequent body aches, headaches, and a range of other physical problems.
What are the risks of caregiver stress syndrome?
Unaddressed caregiver stress syndrome can have devastating effects on both the caregiver and the care recipient. When a family caregiver neglects self-care activities and feels burned out, the individual can become less empathetic, more impatient, and even argumentative toward the senior.
Anxiety and depression can ensue, marked by an increased use of stimulants or excessive drinking. An impaired caregiver is a risk to a vulnerable care recipient. Furthermore, anxiety and depression lower the caregiver’s immune responses, which puts them at risk for poor health.
Why do caregivers suffer from caregiver stress syndrome?
Unmet expectations, such as when the highest level of care fails to increase the senior’s health and happiness, can cause a caregiver to experience burnout. A caregiver who assumes she is the only person responsible for the senior’s care will eventually succumb to exhaustion.
A lack of resources is also a major factor in caregiver stress. Effectively managing an aging loved one’s care requires adequate skills, money, and assistance. Plus, some caregivers are unaware of the symptoms of caregiver stress and are no longer able to function optimally.
How do caregivers prevent caregiver stress syndrome?
The resources surrounding the caregiver are invaluable. Friends, family, and people in the community can lend enormous support, thereby preventing undue stress in the caregiver. The senior’s team of healthcare professionals can advise on the best medications, home adaptations, and equipment.
Caregivers are urged to continue enjoyable activities, such as spending time with friends and exercising. Explore meal delivery services when cooking becomes time-consuming. Join a support group of family caregivers who can offer tips and be a relatable source of comfort.
Adult day care and respite care are also options to help reduce some of the daily caregiving responsibilities. Respite care from reputable home care agencies, like Assisting Hands Home Care, is a seamless transition from family caregiver to professional caregiver.
Respite care offers family caregivers a break from caregiving duties. An hour a week or a few days per week are all that’s necessary to give the family caregiver an opportunity to rejuvenate and return to caregiving with a refreshed outlook, renewed energy, and alertness.
Our professional caregivers pick up where the family caregiver leaves off. Respite caregivers hold the same qualifications and experience as full-time caregivers; this ensures that your aging loved one receives the highest quality care, no matter if it’s for an hour or one week.
Responsibilities include providing discreet assistance with hygiene tasks, shopping for groceries, preparing nutritious meals, and giving timely medication reminders. Caregivers discreetly help with personal hygiene tasks. We are a reliable source of transportation, giving seniors rides to the doctor’s office or senior center.
When respite care would benefit your family, choose Assisting Hands Home Care. We are the most trusted elder care agency in Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding communities. Call us at (214) 760-6944 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation and learn how in-home care can help you and your aging loved one in Coppell, TX | Dallas, TX | Highland Park, TX | Richardson, TX | University Park, TX.