Caregivers frequently report experiencing high levels of stress, especially when dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. Sometimes it can be exhausting both mentally and physically to take care of a loved one with dementia or other similar health issues. Too much stress can be harmful for both parties. Quality Family Care has organized some information to help you avoid burnout.
10 Signs of Caregiver Stress
- Short Temper toward the individual with Alzheimer’s or frustration that he or she can’t do the things they used to be able to do.
He knows how to get dressed — he’s just being stubborn.
- Health Issues that begin to take a mental and physical toll.
I can’t remember the last time I felt good.
- Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed. I know Mom is going to get better.
- Social Problems from friends and activities that used to make you feel good.
I don’t care about visiting with the neighbors anymore.
- Stress about the future and facing another day.
What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?
- Physical Exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. I’m too tired for this.
- Tired Anxiety caused by a never-ending list of concerns.
What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?
- Mood Swings that leads to irritability and triggers negative responses and actions. Leave me alone!
- Inability to Focus that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks.
I was so busy, I forgot my appointment.
- Depression that breaks your spirit and affects your ability to handle normal situations.
I just don’t care anymore.
If any of these signs seem all too familiar with you, then you should contact a doctor or physician right away.
Ways you Can Help Manage Stress
- Know where to find the resources available to you.
Adult day programs, in-home assistance, visiting nurses and meal delivery are just some of the services that can help you manage daily tasks. Use this online Community Resource Finder or contact your local Alzheimer’s Association® chapter for assistance in finding Alzheimer’s care resources in your community. Use Alzheimer’s Navigator, our the free online tool that helps evaluate your needs, identify action steps and connect with local programs and services.
- Support that helps.
The Alzheimers Association online Care Team Calendar helps you organize friends and family who want to help provide care and support. Our 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900), ALZConnected online community and local support groups are all good sources for finding comfort and reassurance. If stress becomes overwhelming, seek professional help.
- Be active.
Go outdoors, partake in physical activity. It can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Even 10 minutes of exercise a day can help. Take a walk. Do an activity you love, such as gardening or dancing.
- Take time out for you.
Imagine taking advantage of respite care so you can spend time doing something you enjoy. Respite care provides caregivers with a temporary rest from caregiving, while the person with Alzheimer’s disease continues to receive care in a safe environment. Set aside time for you!
- Learn more, and share information.
As the disease advances, new caregiving skills may be necessary. The Alzheimer’s Association offers programs to help you better understand and cope with the behaviors and personality changes that often accompany Alzheimer’s. You may also find it helpful to talk to other care partners and caregivers about how they are coping with the challenges of the disease and uncertainty about the future.
- Stay healthy.
Visit your doctor regularly. Try to eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. Making sure that you are healthy can help you be a better caregiver.
- Plan for the future.
Getting prepared for legal and financial plans to be set in place after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is important so that the person with the disease can participate. Having future plans in place can provide comfort to the entire family. Many documents can be prepared without the help of an attorney. However, if you are unsure about how to complete legal documents or make financial plans, you may want to seek assistance from an attorney specializing in elder law, a financial advisor who is familiar with elder or long-term care planning, or both. This helps provides peace of mind.
- Use relaxation techniques.
There are several simple relaxation techniques that can help relieve stress. Try more than one to find which works best for you. Techniques include:
- Visualization (mentally picturing a place or situation that is peaceful and calm)
- Meditation (which can be as simple as dedicating 15 minutes a day to letting go of all stressful thoughts)
- Breathing exercises (slowing your breathing and focusing on taking deep breaths)
- Progressive muscle relaxation (tightening and then relaxing each muscle group, starting at one end of your body and working your way to the other end)You can find out more about relaxation techniques on the Mayo Clinic website.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
» Volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association. Visit alz.org/CRF to find an office in your area.
» Become an advocate. Visit alz.org/advocacy.
» Participate in a clinical study as a healthy volunteer. Get started by creating a profile with Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch®
Quality Family Care is dedicated to helping to reduce caregiver stress especially with those surrounded by the effects of Alzheimers. If you or a loved one is in need of in-home care-giving services that help with problems associated with Alzheimer’s, contact Quality Family Care today at 877-513-7156 to talk to one of our referral specialists to find the perfect match for your needs. You are not alone!