Owners' Blog

Why Family Caregivers Often Develop Chronic Stress

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Did you know that family caregivers are some of the most stressed out people? While caring for an elderly relative brings a lot of rewards, it can also generate endless amounts of work and stress for loving family members. If you are a family caregiver, it’s important that you develop some stress management techniques before you burn out physically and mentally. Studies show that chronic stress can be alleviated when family caregivers incorporate stress-reducing activities into their daily and weekly schedules. But how do they find the time to do it?

Experts agree that the first step in dealing with chronic stress is recognizing it within themselves. The realization that they are not physically or mentally healthy can motivate family caregivers into making some significant changes. These are just a few of the warning signs of chronic stress that family caregivers may recognize when they look into a mirror:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Unhealthy habits such as poor diet and no exercise
  • Frequent headaches and sore shoulders
  • Digestive distress
  • Ignoring personal hygiene
  • Skipping social activities
  • Avoiding activities that once brought pleasure, such as a hobby
  • High blood pressure and heart palpitations
  • Weakened immune system and an increase in illnesses
  • Anxiety and depression

Family caregivers that do not have assistance from others in caring for a senior adult are more likely to struggle with chronic stress and the symptoms associated with the physical and mental exhaustion. Without respite and tie to focus on stress management, family caregivers can seriously jeopardize their health.

To combat chronic stress, many family caregivers look at hiring senior care providers to bring expertise and skill to look after the elderly adult for a time. Senior care providers can be scheduled daily or weekly, and they bring a professional background plus lots of experience to the job. These professionals can jump in and care for the aging adult, so the family caregiver can leave for a few hours or for the day, if necessary. These highly qualified senior care providers make it so family caregivers can focus on themselves instead of their aging relatives.

When family caregivers have the chance to hire a senior care provider, they can then incorporate many stress management activities that will help their physical and mental health. Important things to do include exercise, eat a healthy diet, socialize with friends, participate in hobbies, enjoy some down time with a book or magazine, connect with other family members, visit a therapist, enjoy community events and activities and catch up on restful sleep. These are among the best ways to alleviate stress and avoid burnout.

For the health of the family caregiver, it’s important to find help from others, including hiring senior care providers, to restore balance to their lives and continue to provide excellent care for their aging loved one.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Lawrenceville, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.