TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE CAREGIVER STRESS

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Town Square University Parkway

Posted on

Mar 08, 2023

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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Being a caregiver is a very stressful full-time job. Taking care of your loved one with dementia can, and will increase your stress level. There are many ways to reduce your stress levels as a caregiver. If you experience signs of stress on a regular basis, consult your primary physician. Ignoring your symptoms can cause your physical and mental health to decline.

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The Importance of Self Care

Understanding the Silence: 3 Reasons Family Caregivers Don't Seek HelpThe role of a family caregiver is one of the noblest yet most challenging tasks one can undertake. It involves providing unwavering support and care to loved ones who are either aging, living with disabilities, or dealing with chronic illnesses. Despite the significant physical, emotional, and mental toll it can take, many caregivers often find themselves reluctant to seek help, especially for their own self-care needs.This reluctance can lead to burnout, stress, and health issues for the caregivers themselves. Lets explore the top three reasons family caregivers often dont ask for help and discuss how acknowledging and addressing these concerns can lead to better outcomes for both caregivers and those they care for.1. Guilt and Perceived Self-ExpectationOne of the most profound reasons caregivers hesitate to seek help is the overwhelming sense of guilt and the self-imposed expectation to manage everything on their own. Many caregivers operate under the belief that seeking assistance is an admission of failure or that they are not doing enough for their loved one.This guilt is often compounded by societal expectations that glorify self-sacrifice, making caregivers feel that they must bear the burden alone to prove their love and commitment. Its crucial for caregivers to recognize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a necessary step in ensuring they remain healthy and well enough to continue providing care.2. Fear of Inadequate CareAnother significant barrier is the fear that no one else can provide the same level of care and understanding to their loved one. This concern often stems from the deep personal connection and familiarity caregivers have with the specific needs and preferences of the person they are looking after. The thought of entrusting this responsibility to someone else, even a professional, can be daunting.However, its important to understand that seeking help, whether through professional services or community support, can offer respite and may even introduce new approaches to care that can be beneficial.3. Lack of Resources and AwarenessMany family caregivers simply do not know where to look for help or believe that resources are not available or are too costly. This lack of awareness about the existence of support networks, respite care, and other caregiver resources contributes significantly to the isolation and stress that caregivers experience.Additionally, the complexity and time required to navigate health and social care systems can be deterrents in themselves. Increasing awareness and accessibility of support services is crucial in helping caregivers realize they are not alone and that there are avenues available to help manage the demands of caregiving.Moving ForwardRecognizing these barriers is the first step in addressing the silent struggle of many family caregivers. Its essential for caregivers to acknowledge their own needs and understand that seeking help is an act of strength, both for their well-being and for the enhanced care of their loved ones.Communities and health services can aid this process by promoting the availability of support resources, simplifying access to respite care, and fostering environments where caregivers feel valued and supported in their roles.For caregivers, remember: taking care of yourself is not a luxury; its an integral part of providing the best care for your loved one. By seeking support, youre not only ensuring your own health and happiness but also enhancing the quality of care you provide.Lets work towards a culture that supports and uplifts the invaluable work of caregivers, recognizing the importance of self-care in sustaining the caregiving journey.Addressing Caregiver Needs: Embracing Adult Day and In-Home Care ServicesAs we navigate the challenges and responsibilities of caregiving, it becomes clear that implementing practical solutions for respite is not just beneficial but necessary. Among the most effective strategies for providing caregivers with the relief they need are adult day services and in-home care options. These resources can offer caregivers the break they deserve while ensuring that their loved ones continue to receive high-quality care and social interaction.Adult Day ServicesAdult day services are designed to offer a safe, engaging environment for adults who need supervision and care during the day. These programs can be particularly beneficial for seniors with dementia or physical disabilities. They provide a range of activities aimed at promoting well-being, from physical exercises to social events and cognitive stimulation.For caregivers, this service presents an opportunity to take a break, attend to personal matters, or simply rest, knowing their loved one is in good hands. Embracing adult day services can significantly reduce the emotional and physical stress associated with continuous caregiving, offering a much-needed balance in their lives.In-Home CareFor families that prefer keeping their loved one at home or for whom adult day services may not be the best fit, in-home care is an invaluable alternative. Professional caregivers can come to your home to provide a range of services, from basic assistance with daily activities to medical care.This option allows your loved one to stay in a familiar environment while still receiving professional care. It also offers flexibility, as services can be tailored to your specific needs and schedule, providing relief for just a few hours a week or on a more full-time basis.Recommendations for Family Caregivers1. Assess Your Needs: Take the time to understand both your needs and the needs of your loved one. Whether its a few hours off to run errands or a more structured break to ensure your well-being, knowing what you need will help you choose the right type of support.2. Explore Your Options: Research local adult day services and in-home care providers. Look for reviews, ask for recommendations from your network, and consider visiting facilities to get a sense of how they operate and whether they feel like a good fit for your family.3. Seek Financial Assistance: Understandably, cost is a significant concern for many families. Explore financial assistance options such as Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or veterans benefits that may help cover the cost of these services.4. Start Small: If youre hesitant about introducing a new care arrangement, its okay to start small. Try a few hours of in-home care or a couple of days at an adult day center to see how it works for you and your loved one.5. Communicate: Open communication with your loved one about the changes and the reasons for them is crucial. Ensure they understand the benefits and feel involved in the decision-making process.By incorporating adult day services or in-home care into your caregiving routine, youre not only ensuring your loved one continues to receive compassionate and professional care, but youre also taking an important step in prioritizing your own health and well-being.Remember, taking advantage of respite care options is a testament to your strength and dedication as a caregiver, reflecting a commitment to providing the best care possible, both for your loved one and yourself. Caring for a loved one? We are here to help, whether you need help at home or need a little break during the day! Take a break and enjoy peace of mind knowing your loved one is having the time of their life! ActivAge Senior Care,formerly Chelsea Placeoffers Adult Day (the Club), Daytime Senior Care and In-Home Care. To learn more, please call (941) 205-7722 or visit ActivAgeCare.com. Port Charlotte: 3626 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33952Sarasota: 3801 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL 34233Home Care:  Serving Charlotte & Sarasota County

Caregiver Stress Awareness in Hospice Care

Caregiver Stress Awareness in Hospice CareBy: Joelle Jean, FNPCaring for a loved one who is terminally ill and on hospice is emotionally and physically taxing. In 2015, an estimated 39.8 million caregivers provided unpaid care to an adult with a disability or illness. The estimated value of the service supplied by caregivers is up to $470 billion since 2013.Caregivers may deny help from others, perhaps out of guilt or obligation. However, 1 out of 6 caregivers report not being asked what they need to care for themselves. Caregivers can work up to 8.3 hours per day or 66 hours per week during their loved ones last days of life. Often, this is in addition to working a full-time job and caring for their own immediate family.Caregivers are at risk for depression, severe fatigue, or burnout, or even health issues such as hypertension, stroke, obesity, or weight loss due to stress.What is a caregiver?A caregiver, also known as an informal caregiver, is an unpaid individual or group of individuals who provide care to a loved one. Caregivers can be a spouse, family members, partner, friend, neighbor, or combination of these individuals.A caregiver assists their loved ones with activities of daily living which include:BathingDressingEatingToiletingShoppingHousekeepingTransportationMedical tasks such as giving medications, changing wound dressings, and managing painA caregiver can also play a significant role in coordinating care for their loved ones. Many are appointed power of attorney or the primary decision maker for their loved ones, managing finances, property, and most suitable medical care for the individual.    What causes caregiver stress or burnout?There is no clear definition of caregiver stress. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stress as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. Burnout can be a response to stress, defined as extreme emotional exhaustion. According to stress.org, stages of burnout are:EnthusiasmStagnationFrustrationApathy or loss of interestA caregiver with stress or burnout exhibits signs of feeling overloaded, overwhelmed, emotionally drained, tiredness, detachment from the person they are caring for, and a reduced sense of accomplishment.Who is most affected by caregiver stress?Caregiver stress affects the person or people directly caring for their loved one. Stress can also affect caregivers in different ways. For example, one caregiver may find specific tasks stressful or overwhelming while another caregiver may find the task relaxing and rewarding.What are the signs and symptoms of caregiver stress?Often, caregivers are not aware of their stress or feeling of burnout. Signs and symptoms of caregiver stress can be subtle or obvious. It is important to identify caregiver stress so it can be eased.AnxietyAnxiety is a stress response, activating the fight or flight response that happens chemically in the brain. Physically, anxiety can be described as:Increased heart rateFeelings of doom or hopelessnessStomach pain and or spasmsHeadacheSweatingHeavy breathingFeeling weak or tiredWorryFatigueCaregivers suffering from stress may not realize they are fatigued. Fatigue is the bodys response to burnout and can be physical, emotional, or psychological.Weight changesStress can cause weight changes and affect eating patterns. Weight change can occur when dealing with caregiver stress. Rapid weight gain or unexplained weight loss is a warning sign of caregiver stress and should be addressed appropriately.IrritabilityCaregivers may become easily annoyed or short-tempered with loved ones, family members, or friends. Feeling irritable may be a warning sign of caregiver stress.Feelings of being overwhelmedFeeling overwhelmed or anxious is normal. Caregivers may become overwhelmed with the amount of care needed to provide to their loved ones. Trouble concentrating, changes in sleep patterns, and changes in eating habits may occur.DepressionLosing interest in activities can be a sign of depression due to the demanding responsibilities of caregiving. Signs of depression include:Little interest or pleasure in doing thingsFeeling down or hopelessChange in sleep patternsFatigue and tirednessThoughts of death or suicidePotential health risks as a result of caregiver stressChronic stress (or stress lasting for more than six weeks) can have lasting health problems. Caregivers exhibiting signs and symptoms of stress and burnout have a higher chance of developing health risks.High blood pressureCaregivers can suffer from high blood pressure due to the stress of caring for a loved one in hospice. If caregivers have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, stress can make the disease worse. Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts caregivers at higher risk for:StrokeAtherosclerosis or disease of the arteriesHeart attackOrgan damageWeakened immune systemThe immune system is in place to protect the body from illness and disease. Stress can cause a weakened immune system. With a weakened immune system, caregivers can become sick or develop chronic illnesses such as:Inflammation throughout the bodyIncrease in fat in the blood and bodyChronic painFrequent colds and infections Short term memory lossStudies have shown that a symptom of chronic stress is the shrinking of the brain. Shrinking of the brain causes short-term memory loss. Short term memory loss affects learning, judgement, and memory process. Headaches and body painsStress can cause headaches and body pains. On a hormonal level, the increase of cortisol causes headaches even at rest. The physical nature of caring for a loved one on hospice- lifting, standing, walking, and rotating- can cause severe body pain or injury. How to relieve or prevent caregiver stress and burnoutSelf-care is imperative for caregivers caring for their loved ones in hospice. Self-care means caring for yourself, so you can improve your health to care for others.Exercise regularlyFinding the time and the energy to exercise might sound difficult. However, even carving out 30 minutes a day has positive effects on your health. Exercising whether it is running, walking, swimming, or doing yoga will lower blood pressure, increase energy, and improve mood.Asking and accepting help from othersAccepting help can be difficult for some caregivers. It is important to ask and accept help so that you are available for your loved one mentally and physically.Under most insurances and Medicare, respite care is available to relieve the burden of caregiver stress. Respite care will give short term caregiver relief to those who are in need.Eat and sleep wellEating and sleeping well are fundamental in protecting your physical and mental health. A well-balanced meal of fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods is important for physical and mental well-being. Adding vitamins such as a multivitamin, vitamin D, or vitamin B-12 can also help improve your mood and energy.Having a good nights sleep has many health benefits. Feeling well-rested and energized will only benefit you, as the caregiver, and your loved one. Improved memory, mood, and overall well-being are all benefits of quality sleep.Seek out support groupsSupport groups add immense value to caregivers who are caring for loved ones in hospice. Joining support groups reassures caregivers that they arent alone. Support groups:Allow you to talk about your feelingsHelp you realize others are going through the same situationReduces stress and depressionTeaches coping skills and ways to divert stressMaintain personal relationshipsMaintaining personal relationships is as important as joining support groups. Meeting up with friends or family members allows you to relax. It also allows you to take time for yourself and time away from your loved one. Awareness of caregivers stress and burnout must be addressed and acknowledged for caregivers to feel supported and recognized for their challenging work. The hospice team and its services are a fundamental part of bringing this awareness to the forefront.

Promoting Healthy Aging: Senior Organizations in Action

In the pursuit of promoting healthy aging, senior organizations emerge as beacons of empowerment and support for the elderly. These organizations play a pivotal role in cultivating a holistic culture of wellness, offering educational resources, and organizing informative sessions that equip seniors with the knowledge to make informed health decisions. Beyond physical health, they advocate for mental and emotional well-being, recognizing the interconnected nature of these aspects. Through tailored fitness programs and recreational activities, senior organizations actively encourage an active lifestyle, demonstrating that aging does not mean a slowdown but rather an opportunity for continued engagement, vitality, and purpose.Crucially, senior organizations are architects of supportive communities that form the backbone of healthy aging. By fostering social connections through events, support groups, and volunteer opportunities, these organizations combat the prevalent issue of senior loneliness, providing spaces where older adults can share experiences and build meaningful relationships. Additionally, as technology becomes increasingly integral to daily life, senior organizations are pioneering initiatives to bridge the digital gap, ensuring that older adults can navigate the digital landscape with confidence. In doing so, they pave the way for a future where healthy aging is not just an aspiration but a tangible reality, characterized by a vibrant community, active living, and a sense of connectedness among the elderly.

Local Services By This Author

Town Square University Parkway

Adult Day Services 8450 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota, Florida, 34243

WHY CHOOSE TOWN SQUARE UNIVERSITY PARKWAYTown Square specializes in helping seniors with Alzheimer's, different forms of dementia, and Parkinson's enjoy an interactive 1950s atmosphere. Our adult day program is a perfect solution for seniors with mobility or cognitive impairments! Our engaging environment provides a much-needed independence for our members in a safe and secure center.  We are open weekly Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Town Square's adult day care provides an entire town center for our members to explore including 15 different storefronts. Town Square University Parkway is unique to other locations, as we offer a true medical model, meaning our members have access to primary care services, psychiatric services, lab services, and quarterly podiatry, dermatology, and audiology all within one convienient location. In addition to our medical services, we also offer weekly groups for our members and their families including support groups, events, and educational classes. Our goal is to help the family, the caregiver, and the member have a better quality of life while staying at home as long as possible. OUR PHILOSOPHYTown Square recognizes the dynamic nature of the human brain and acknowledges that our abilities can change at any time. Our programming is designed to provide a caring, supportive, and positive opportunities to meet our member's needs throughout the course of their day, regardless of their cognitive and functional abilities. We believe there is nothing more important than improving our quality of life as we age, and it is our passion to serve each member as a unique individual. TOURSStep back in time while you enjoy our fun midcentury environment. We are open for tours and eager to show you around our engaging adult day center. View our website or call today for more information. CALL NOW 941-277-5048LOCATIONTown Square University Parkway is located off of University Parkway and Lockwood Ridge Rd in North Sarasota Florida. We are in the Walmart shopping center behind Walgreens and next to Petland. Our center is located in beautiful Manatee County.