If you are a current caregiver for a family member or loved one, you know just how hard caregiving can be, for some people it even requires the help of a caregiver support groups to deal with the problems associated with the task.
If you are a caregiver for a parent or spouse you may feel overwhelmed with your daily life and day-to-day tasks, you may even feel invisible. This is common among the caregiver community. Caregiver stress is a problem that many suffer from. When this is the case, it can be a good idea to look into caregiver support groups that can help you.
Luckily, due to the prevalence of the issue, there are a number of resources available to you when looking for a support group.
Finding A Caregiver Support Group
There is a long list of caregiver support resources for those who are looking to join some sort of support group.
Alzheimer’s Caregiving — If you are caregiving for someone with a memory issue such as Alzheimer’s, the National Institute on Aging has information available to help with those who are struggling with health problems.
Veteran Caregiver Support — Veteran caregivers provide a valuable service to those who served our country selflessly. With that said, it is still a major commitment and can affect emotional and physical health. There are a number of resources available for veteran caregivers through the VA, including a support line: 1-855-260-3274.
Local Services — For those that want to receive local help, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a number of services available to help caregivers.
There are a number of other tools available for caregivers to help them find the support that they need if they are dealing with some type of problem including a Community Resource Finder database created by the AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association and the Family Care Navigator tool developed by the Family Caregiver Alliance.
Caregiver Stress and Burnout
As mentioned previously, caregiver stress is a common problem among those providing for family members and others. Caregiver stress is caused by the emotional and physical strain of caregiving as they report higher levels of stress than people who are not caregivers.
Some common symptoms and signs of caregiver stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling alone or isolated
- Sleeping too much
- Major fluctuations in weight
- Feeling tired
- Becoming easily irritated
- Having head and body aches
For many, caregiver stress can lead to a number of unhealthy habits including smoking or drinking too much alcohol. There are a number of other effects that caregiver stress can lead to including:
Depression — While women caregivers are more likely than men to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression, but is still a serious concern for all caregivers. Depression and anxiety are disorders that can raise our risk for other health issues, such as heart disease and stroke.
Weak Immune System — Stress causes caregivers to have weaker immune systems than non caregivers and spend more days sick with problems like the cold or the flu, it can also make vaccines less effective.
Obesity — Stress generally causes weight gain, this is especially true for women. Obesity raises your risk of health problems like heart disease and stroke.
Chronic Disease — High levels of stress leads to increased risk of some chronic diseases especially when combined with the risks associated with depression and obesity. Problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis are all common.
Tips For Caregivers
Obviously, caregiver stress is a serious issue that can affect multiple aspects of someone’s emotional and physical health. Even for the most resilient people, caregiver stress and burnout can be problematic. And as the population ages, more caregivers will begin helping their family member of loved one. According to the Mayo Clinic, about one in three adults in the United States provides care to other adults as informal caregivers.
Because of the prevalence of caregiving and because it is only becoming more ubiquitous, it is important to learn tips and strategies for confronting caregiver stress and burnout. For caregivers who are being affected by caregiver stress, there are a few ways that you can improve your situation:
Get Help — Asking for help can be a hard thing to do, but sometimes it is best to just swallow your pride and get the help you need.
Get Connected — As mentioned in this article, when you need help one of the best things to do is find a support group, resource, or a community that can help you. Finding resources can even take a load off of your shoulders.
Social Support — If you are experiencing a problem like depression or anxiety, one thing you can do is get in contact with friends and family, people who can help provide emotional support without judgement.
Heath Goals — To stay healthy, you can set some goals for yourself. This is a good way to reduce your risk of problems like stroke and heart disease. Some simple goals could be to find time to exercise most days of the week, get a good sleep routine, and drink water.
These are a few easy things that you can start to do to improve your situation and prevent problems related to caregiver stress and burnout.
For some, caregiving without caregiver support groups can be too difficult or require too much time or care. If this is the case, the best step forward is to learn more about assisted living facilities and what they can offer you and your loved one. At Landmark Senior Living, our staff is dedicated to helping residents with whatever health problem they are dealing with, including memory care. Similarly, our staff also sets up engaging social events and activities so that our residents are not only safe during their stay but enjoy their time as well. If you would like to learn more about What Landmark has to offer, please visit our website and schedule a complimentary walkthrough of one of our facilities.