“I think my advice for other caregivers would be – you can get lost very easily. To family and friends, I’d say, ‘Take care of the caregiver.’ Don’t worry about the patient, they’re taken care of. Take care of the caregiver.”
From “Lowering a Child,” in hear/say
A caregiver is a member of a person’s social network who helps them with activities of daily living and helps needy people to turn their lives to become easier. Caregivers are most commonly used to address impairments related to old age, disability, a disease, or a mental disorder. There is no doubt that caregivers provide a precious help spiritually and physically. On the other hand, caregivers’ burden is reportedly the highest when it is provided to a spouse or partner.
Caregiver stress is characterized by the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It typically results from a person neglecting their own physical and emotional health because they are focused on caring for their loved one. Therefore, caregiver stress is strongly associated with negative health outcomes.
Around 40-70% of caregivers suffer from depression while many caregivers, also, have anxiety as a result of the stress associated with providing care. Here are some aspects that really cause stress to caregivers’ lives:
- Emotional and Physical Stress
About 22% of caregivers report that their health has gotten worse as a result of care giving. Caring for chronic conditions like Dementia or Alzheimer disease seems to cause the most emotional stress. The physical demands of care giving can also take a toll when the duties include lifting and helping with mobility.
- Managing Their Time
Caregivers often find that they have less time for themselves and other family members. They often spend so much time on care giving duties that they end up sacrificing the things they enjoy, like hobbies or vacations, or they have trouble balancing work schedules while care giving.
- Sleep Deprivation
Lack of sleep can be a serious issue for a family caregiver as often the loved one’s sleep-wake cycle can be mixed up. Sleep deprivation can take a huge toll on a caregiver who is already feeling the strain of being burned from both ends.
- Depression and Isolation
A family caregiver is often at a high risk for depression. Oftentimes, care giving duties take up so much of their time that they no longer maintain social connections outside of the home.
Tips for Caregivers
Working as a caregiver, that is profoundly meaningful when it hits its expectations, causes many stressful aspects that affect caregivers’ lives. Here are some tips that caregivers should follow:
- Respite (taking a break) is essential for caregivers.
- Get exercise: there may be steps to take and arrangements to make in order for a caregiver to engage or re-engage in healthy activities. Getting to exercise with friends helps caregivers regain a healthy life.
- Get enough sleep: prolonged disruption in sleep can impact the overall health and well-being.
- Stay socially connected with people a caregiver enjoys with: many caregivers are at risk for feeling lonely and isolated due to their care giving demands.
- Ask for help, and when people offer help, accept it: remember, care giving is not a one-person job. Getting help with care giving does not mean you are failing as a caregiver.
- Learn: a caregiver should be willing to learn everything they can about their loved one’s illness so that they can communicate comfortably with healthcare providers and can prepare for the future.
Caregiver stress is an often overlooked potential health hazard for all caregivers. At Phlebotomy Career Training, we are proud to work with our Medical Assistants, CNAs and Patient Care Technician trainees to understand coping mechanisms as part of our online and in-class training.
Contact our admissions offices today for more information at (888) 410-6416 or visit us at phlebotomycareertraining.com for more information.