If you work and take care of family members at home, you’re not alone. According to one 2015 study, 15 percent of the workforce in the United States is currently caring for an elderly loved one. Most of the caregivers don’t have help, nor can they name resources in the community that could help them. Doing double-duty takes a toll on a person. These caregivers report that they deal with anxiety, depression and guilt. Some don’t take care of their own health. In addition, it’s reported that caregivers adjust their own hours to take care of a senior parent. Another study found that about 40 percent of caregivers have a hard time getting to work on time, which reduces productivity in the workplace.
When you’re a caregiver yourself, it can be overwhelming to deal with people all day then come home to take care of someone else. It’s important to find ways to deal with the stress. Otherwise, eventually you will burn out and not be good to anyone. Caregivers who provide senior care are often so focused on everyone else that they don’t recognize the signs of stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried, are easily irritated or sleeping too much or too little, it’s time to look at getting help. We recommend these things to manage caregiver stress:
Make sure you’re taking care of your own health
See your doctor. Make sure you have a good sleep routine. Get exercise. Drink water. Eat healthy.
Focus on what you can do
You are only one person. You cannot do everything for your loved one. Set good boundaries on what you can and cannot do. Be realistic about your priorities. Say no to things that drain you. You don’t have to make brownies for the church bake sale or cook that huge holiday dinner when you’re dealing with so much on your plate.
Accept help from others
You may have to humble yourself to accept help, but it’s vital to your health. Know what things someone else can do for your loved one. Remember that you provide in-home care for others as a way of help. Find the resources in your community that will give you some respite. Ask your parents’ friends or other family members to step in. Get connected to the community.
Home Helpers is here for you. Whether you need in-home care for your loved one on a regular basis or just need some respite care periodically, don’t dismiss your own needs. Contact us about how we can help you be a better caregiver at home and at work.