There are more than 44 million adults throughout the United States who are currently in the role of being a family caregiver.
While this role can be extremely rewarding and a wonderful way to show your aging parent how much you love them and that you want them to live a high quality of life, it can also be challenging. Studies have shown that between 40 and 70% of family caregivers experience symptoms of depression, and nearly 20% report that being a caregiver is emotionally strenuous. Experiencing caregiver stress is a normal part of caring for an aging adult, but it can put you at risk of physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being consequences. It is extremely important that you are able to detect when you might be experiencing the stress and be able to take steps to reduce and cope with it as you care for your parent.
Some signs that you might be struggling with caregiver stress include:
- Feeling worn out
- Difficulty sleeping
- No longer being interested in activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Increased incidents of health issues such as headaches, illness, and infections
- Over-reacting to even small issues
- No longer being as devoted to fulfilling responsibilities
- Feeling resentful or bitter toward your parent or your care responsibilities
- Eating more or experiencing a loss of appetite
- Increase reliance on smoking or drinking alcohol
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult can be stressful, challenging, and, at times, overwhelming. This can be especially true if you are a member of the sandwich generation caring for your elderly adult and your children, or if you live at a distance from your senior and are not able to be with your parent as often as you would like to be. Fortunately, home care can be there for you. The highly personalized services of an in-home care services provider can fill care gaps and ensure that your parent’s individual needs are met in the way that is right for them. These can be care needs that you are not able to handle due to your own challenges, limitations, or distance, care needs that your parent or you are not comfortable with you handling, tasks that need to be handled more frequently that you can fulfill them, or just the support that companionship can offer.