How to Help a Family Caregiver Avoid Stress

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

November 3, 2015

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It may be true that stress is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t have to be something that overwhelms another individual. When you’re talking about any family caregiver, stress is often going to enter their life relatively quickly, especially when they begin taking care of an aging parent or grandparent.
Why is stress a part of caregiving?
It’s often because when family members begin supporting elderly loved ones, they don’t fully understand exactly what’s going to be required. They have minimal expectations about how much time they’re going to have to devote to their loved one.
In the beginning, a senior may only require minimal assistance with doing the laundry or doing light housekeeping. That’s not a major concern for most people. However, whenever somebody begins receiving help to perform basic tasks, they have a tendency to begin relying on that support more and more as the days turned into weeks and those weeks turned into months.
When the family caregiver is suddenly rushing around in the morning so they can stop by the senior’s house on their way to work and then doing the same after a long, grueling day at work, their stress level will begin to increase.
Another reason why stress can increase his concerns over the senior’s safety at home. When a family caregiver begins supporting an elderly loved one within the comfort of their home, they begin to see just how challenging it may be for them to get around in a safe manner. Suddenly, that family caregiver is thinking of all of the worst-case scenarios when they’re not with their loved one.
For example, the family caregiver can wake up in the middle of night after having difficulty falling asleep to begin with having thoughts of their loved one sprawled out on the floor because he slipped while getting out of bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. This can make it difficult to sleep and that can increase stress levels tremendously.
So how can one help these family caregivers avoid stress?
Encourage those family caregivers to consider professional home care services. Ultimately, it is the senior’s choice about whether or not they want to rely on outside assistance, but if a family member realizes there’s a better option, they may be more inclined to encourage that for their loved one. When relying on an experienced and professional caregiver, the family member can still support their loved one, but they won’t be overwhelmed with the same level of stress.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Pittsburgh, call and talk to our friendly staff. Call Liken Home Care at (412) 693-6820.