Statistics show that the average age of caregivers is around 49 years old. While the majority of caregivers may be over the age of 40, there are younger adults who also provide assistance to family members. While all caregivers are at risk of suffering from the ill effects of stress, a new poll shows that younger caregivers feel more stressed than older ones.
About the Poll
The poll was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It showed that around one third of respondents under the age of 40 had acted as caregivers for an older family member or friend. An additional one third believed they would be called upon to do so within the next five years.
Although the poll showed that younger adults typically spend fewer hours performing caregiver duties, it also showed that they experience greater levels of stress because of it. In fact, 80 percent of them said that being a caregiver is at least “moderately stressful.”
Signs of Caregiver Stress
Regardless of your age, it’s important to be aware of signs indicating you may be suffering from caregiver stress. Some of the signs are:
- Feeling anxious, depressed, or irritable.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Increased feelings of resentment.
- Changes in eating patterns, such as eating too much or not enough.
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.
- Using alcohol or drugs to deal with feelings.
- Getting sick more often or existing conditions getting worse.
Coping with Stress
If you’re experiencing caregiver stress, taking steps to deal with it can get you back on the path to good health. You may even develop a renewed interest in being a caregiver and begin to enjoy it again. Some ways you can cope with caregiver stress are:
- Get Help: Often caregivers think they should be able to do everything on their own, so they are reluctant to seek help or accept offers of help. Allowing friends or family members to take over a few tasks can give you a break and make you feel better. You might also hire a home care provider through an agency to take over for a few hours on a couple days of the week.
- Focus on Successes: It can be easy to dwell on the mistakes you’ve made. Try not to do that. Instead, remember that most of what you do for your aging relative is exactly what is needed.
- Find Support: Join a support group for caregivers where you can safely vent your feelings without judgement. Other caregivers may even be able to provide you with tips to deal with the things that are frustrating you.
Being a caregiver isn’t an easy task at any age, so it’s important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Take time each day just for you. Spend it doing something you enjoy or use it to get some exercise or attend a medical appointment. And, remember, there is help available through home care agencies, family members, and friends if you need it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Gibsonia, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 364-4663.