What to Know About Caregiver Stress Syndrome

How to Prevent Caregiver BurnoutIt is not uncommon for a family member or friend to step up and provide care for a loved one when it is needed. Certainly, taking on the role of a caregiver is admirable and rewarding. This role, of course, is time-consuming and can result in feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety–all signs of what is referred to as caregiver stress syndrome, caregiver burnout, caregiver depression, or caregiver fatigue. The Home Health Agency of Renaissance is here to help.

What Causes Caregiver Stress?

There are a number of contributing factors to caregiver stress. Family or friends of a senior often try to do more than they are able and may not know where to turn for assistance. On the other hand, they may simply feel guilty about reaching out for help. Other contributing factors may include:

  • Unrealistic expectations. A caregiver may become frustrated or angry if they expected to see their loved one get “better” and do not – particularly if the loved one has a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and seems to be getting worse and worse.
  • Unreasonable demands. Sometimes the caregiver thinks they are or should be the only ones responsible for taking care of a loved one and will put too many burdens on themselves.
  • Lack of resources. A caregiver could feel overwhelmed and frustrated about not having more resources – like money or skill – to provide better care for their loved one.
  • Role confusion. The line between being a caregiver and being a spouse, partner, friend, or family member can get blurry, making it hard to understand how to react to something.
  • Not understanding they are burning out. Caregivers sometimes focus so much time and attention on their loved one that they don’t notice that they are burning out or getting sick.

Caregiver Stress Symptoms

When caring for a senior, it is important to understand the signs of stress so that you can know when you may be experiencing burnout. Here are common caregiver fatigue symptoms to be mindful of:

  • Emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion or fatigue
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs – sleep medications, as an example
  • Getting sick more often and more easily
  • Feelings of anxiety and depression

Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers

You did a wonderful thing by stepping up, but it is vitally important that you take care of yourself! Not only would burning out risk compromising your ability to care for your loved one, but your loved one would never want to see you suffer. Here are some suggestions for self-care.

  • Stay healthy– eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and regular exercise
  • Be realistic– about your loved one’s condition or illness, particularly if they suffer from a progressive disease, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
  • Know your limits– get help if you need it, and monitor how you are feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Reach out – when you need to talk your feelings and frustrations. Needing help is NOT a sign of weakness. Consider talking to a professional as well – they are trained in these sort of issues.
  • Be good to yourself – set “you” time every day. Understand that it is OK and normal to feel stressed or frustrated and try to focus on the positive.

Preventing Caregiver Burnout with Renaissance

Knowing when to seek help and being able to do so actually makes you a more responsible caregiver. Renaissance offers home care services in NYC, which can allow you to take care of the things you need to do, and give you some time. Our dedicated and capable caregivers are able to provide the care your loved one needs – you can have the peace of mind that they are receiving the best in care.

Contact us today to find out more about what Renaissance can offer you and your loved one. We’re in this together!