April is Stress Awareness Month

There’s no doubt that caregiver stress is a huge problem. It’s an unrelenting and sometimes underappreciated job. April is Stress Awareness Month and we at Caregiverlist invite you to assess the amount of stress you feel from the burden of caregiving and take steps to give yourself some much deserved relief.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health Caregiver Stress sheet, caregiver stress can take many forms. For instance, you may feel:
  • Frustrated and angry taking care of someone with dementia who often wanders away or becomes easily upset
  • Guilty because you think that you should be able to provide better care, despite all the other things that you have to do
  • Lonely because all the time you spend caregiving has hurt your social life
  • Exhausted when you go to bed at night
Even though caregiving can be extremely stressful, it can also be extremely rewarding. Providing care—being there for someone and truly making a difference in their life can be much more gratifying than the average job, but what if it’s only a part of what you do?

Six out of 10 family caregivers are otherwise employed. Many family caregivers of seniors are taking care of children as well. With so many areas demanding one’s time, it is no wonder that stress and stress-related illnesses are so prevalent among caregivers. The majority of family caregivers are women (approximately 66%) and women, according to studies, seem to be more affected by the stress of caregiving. Often, caregivers feel the need to do everything themselves.

Consider some sort of caregiver training to help you better deal with the responsibilities at hand. The more comfortable you are with a job, the more confidence you have performing those tasks. That can go far to alleviate stress. Taking advantage of respite care is also important, especially for the family caregiver.

Take the American Medical Association’s Caregiver Self-Assessment. This questionnaire “is to be completed by the caregiver when he or she accompanies the patient for an office visit. By using the self-assessment score as an index of caregiver distress, the need for supportive services can be discussed, and the physician can then encourage utilization and make appropriate referrals to community resources.” Take advantage of this wonderful program at your next doctor’s visit.
You can also access services under the National Family Caregiver Support Program, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

We at Caregiverlist are staunch advocates of Caring for the Caregiver. Whether you are a family caregiver or a seasoned professional, we appreciate that you are on the front lines, day-in and day-out, providing an invaluable service. Remember, although caregiving can make you feel cut off from the rest of the world, you are not alone. We would love to hear your story. Let us know what makes you feel overwhelmed, how you cope with stress, and why caregiving is so important to you.

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