While caring for a loved one can be rewarding, it is a demanding role that often leads to exhaustion and stress.
Caregivers may feel guilty discussing the negative aspects of caregiving, but talking is a necessary part of self-care. Keeping your emotions inside will only lead to loneliness and more stress.
The Kensington White Plains understands that caregivers need support and resources to reduce stress and maintain overall health. This is why they partnered with Hilarity for Charity (HFC) to present the free, virtual event CareCon.
Co-founder Lauren Miller Rogen hosted CareCon, to inspire, educate, and empower caregivers. The event included expert-led workshops and celebrity panel conversations to celebrate caregivers and teach them how to engage in self-care.
If you weren’t able to attend, let’s talk about reducing caregiver stress and how to take care of your own needs, so that you can care for someone else’s.
What is Caregiver Stress?
Keeping up with the demands of a senior loved one is challenging. When a senior is struggling with a memory disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can become even more difficult.
As the needs of a loved one increase, they will require more of your time, attention, and support. As a caregiver, you likely have your own home, job, children, and spouse to tend to.
These responsibilities can be exhausting and negatively affect your mental, emotional, and physical health if you become stressed and burnt out.
Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress is essential. You can immediately turn things around and improve your health and well-being when you know the symptoms.
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
- Anxiety and depression
- Feeling exhausted
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling resentful
- Trouble focusing
- No longer enjoying hobbies
- Feeling alone and isolated
- Smoking and drinking excessively
Avoid Caregiver Burnout by Feeling Empowered
Feeling hopeless and powerless often plays a significant role in stress and depression. Often, caregivers neglect their own needs and health because they feel they don’t have time for themselves.
A lack of power can make a caregiver feel negative and demoralized. But, when caregivers regain control, they can have a more positive caregiving experience.
Learning to say no can help a caregiver feel more confident and empowered while increasing their time for themselves. A caregiver can engage in self-care, socialize, or relax with this time.
Building a support system is an excellent way for caregivers to feel more satisfied in life. Support groups offer caregivers opportunities to socialize with others experiencing similar conditions. It lessens feelings of loneliness and stress when a caregiver is understood.
Lessen your stress.
During CareCon, there was an outstanding workshop titled “Cruising Through Caregiving: reducing the stress of caring for your loved one.” Those who attended learned great hacks and tips for stress reduction.
Get the Appreciation You Need
One of the most rewarding things about being a caregiver is knowing that you are making a direct impact on your loved one’s quality of life.
When your senior loved one cannot express their gratitude, it may make you feel unappreciated, but this is unlikely to be true. Your loved one is more grateful to your love, support, and relationship than you know.
Seniors with memory disease may not express their appreciation or even process complex concepts like appreciation.
Sometimes you must learn to appreciate and reward yourself. You are aware of what you’re doing, even if your loved one is not.
The reward you give yourself may be large or small. It could be something as little as going out to a restaurant with friends or your spouse once a week, or something more extensive like hiring respite care for a weekend while you take a mini-vacation.
Ask for Caregiving Help
Asking for help will be one of the most essential things you do as a caregiver. Attempting to do everything alone is a sure way to experience caregiver burnout.
There are many ways to find help. You can enlist the help of family members or friends for a few hours a day or week.
Adult care services and respite care services are available to caregivers also. Most of these services can be beneficial not only to you but to your senior loved one. Your loved one will have opportunities to enjoy music, dance, and take art classes.
Caregivers don’t need to be family. If you cannot afford other services, you may consider hiring an individual caregiver when you need a break or have other responsibilities to take care of.
What Kind of Caregiving Services Can I Find in My Community?
To find services close to you can speak with a healthcare professional, do an online search, or browse a phone directory.
Assisted living and memory care communities like The Kensington White Plains, is another way for caregivers to find resources and support.
On the Konnect hub, caregivers can find informative and fun resources. There you will discover caregiver events, classes, good news, and wellness tips.
If you contact your local Agency of Aging, they can give you information on adult care services, caregiver support groups, and respite care near you.
Alternatively, The American Association of Aging Caregivers offers a list of caregiving agencies located around your region.
Give Yourself a Break
As a caregiver, you need to know your limits. Take a break if you feel mentally and emotionally drained and suffer from body aches. When your body tells you to recharge, there is no need to push yourself. If your health suffers, your senior suffers.
Take Care of Your Own Health
You can maintain your health by exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and communicating your needs.
You don’t need to put yourself last to be a great caregiver. You need to remain healthy for yourself, your family, and your future. Neglecting yourself for an extended period can have long-lasting effects on your health.
Path to Improved Well-being
Getting organized, and developing a self-care routine, can help you gain control over your mind, body, and soul.
It is not selfish to spend time with yourself; it is necessary and beneficial to your health.
Empowering Caregivers One Resource at a Time
At The Kensington White Plains, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own — including caregivers.
We provide caregivers with resources, support, tips, and opportunities to attend informative caregiving events and classes. We also host our very own virtual caregiver support group, called Caregiver Connect with Susie Sarkisian.
For our residents, we offer high acuity care, life-enrichment activities, outstanding dining services, rehabilitation services, and special services for seniors with Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Contact us to learn more about our assisted living and memory care community and how we can help your senior age in place.