The day-to-day responsibilities of caring for an aging loved one are often so time consuming that the health of the caregiver is often pushed to the back burner. To deliver quality care, however, it’s critical for the caregiver to recognize that they need to take remedial steps when emotional, behavioral or physical problems arise. The following signs can indicate that the strain of caregiving is becoming too much.
Caregiving is a physically demanding job that can cause feelings of weakness, fatigue and exhaustion. A lack of adequate restful sleep is a leading cause of caregiver stress. Because finding the time to exercise and eat properly can be challenging, a general deterioration of good health can occur. Caregivers may also fail to take proper care of themselves when they fall ill. Frequent headaches, stomach aches and bodily pains are common physical symptoms.
It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed when faced with the responsibility of caring for a loved one, but constant feelings of inadequacy, guilt and worry are emotional symptoms of caregiver stress that need to be addressed. Persistent feelings of sadness or prolonged states of anger and irritation are also common.
A withdrawal from socializing with family and friends is a clear indicator that a caregiver needs to seek relief. Multiple studies have shown that social isolation is damaging to mental and physical health. Other behavioral changes include losing interest in activities that previously brought enjoyment, postponing or failing to schedule medical checkups and abusing alcohol or drugs. Sudden weight loss or weight gain can also be a sign of caregiver stress.
Taking occasional breaks from the demands of delivering care gives caregivers the time that they need to meet their own physical, mental and emotional health needs. Respite care services available from home care agencies can temporarily shift the demands of caregiving to a home health professional. Time off and time away lets caregivers take care of their own health and improves the quality of care that they deliver to their loved ones as well.
For more information about additional assistance and respite care services in the Phoenix metro area, contact Home Care Assistance at 602-388-1085 or visit our website at www.homecareassistancephoenix.com. Available 24 hours a day, we are here to help whenever you need us most.
Photo Credit: Meine Fotos