When you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, whether you manage the care or do all the caregiving yourself, it can be very stressful. It’s a bigger issue to deal with than most other serious diseases. Part of the reasoning behind this statement is that the loved one needs care for a number of decades rather than just a few months or a couple of years.
As time goes by, your loved one will need more help with even the basic needs. This ever-increasing demand of your time and energy means you run a greater risk of stress overload and depression. After a while you will feel burned out. The exhaustion will take over until you can no longer provide care. Please don’t ever let yourself get to this point!
Caregiver stress is a serious thing. It’s far better to take steps to deal with it on a regular basis than to let it build up until it’s beyond your control. If you can recognize the signs of stress overload you can take action and do something before you are in a bad situation.
Recognizing high levels of stress
- You are fatigued all or most of the time, even when you’ve had sleep
- You can’t find enough patience to deal with the person you’re giving care to
- Your frustration is growing and you can’t seem to head it off
- A gloomy feeling of overwhelm has descended on you
- Uncontrollable bouts of crying
- Loss of happiness in activities that used to bring you joy
- Your appetite and sleep habits have changed
- You are depending too heavily on alcohol or medications to dull your pain
Definitely talk to a doctor if you recognize these symptoms in yourself. If you can do something constructive now, you may be able to avoid full-blown burnout.
What can you do in this situation?
- Go a little easier on yourself. Don’t try to be perfect in everything you do.
- Go a little easier on your loved one. Ignore some of the annoying behaviors instead of trying to correct all of them all of the time.
- Find help. Ask other family members to assist with caregiving duties. Even family that lives far away can do something to help. If they can’t contribute time, see if they can contribute skills or financial aid. For example, someone farther away can pay bills for your loved one using the internet. Family members could contribute some funds to pay for some professional caregiving to give you some time off. Elderly home care has expert caregivers trained to take care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
- Ask friends for help. Bringing over a meal could help you out on an especially rough day. Or maybe your friends can take you out to a movie on your day off. Always say yes when offers of help come in. Think of something they can do to help.
For all of your elder care needs in Turnersville, NJ and the surrounding areas call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.