Physical Signs You May be Dealing with Caregiver Stress

Posted: 5/19/2015 9:38 AM by Interim HealthCare
Giving ongoing care and assistance to elderly adults is stressful. No matter how much you love your aging parents or how dedicated you are to your role as their family caregiver, the physical and emotional demands of everyday caregiving are challenging and lead to caregiver stress. Studies have indicated that adult children who give regular care and assistance to their senior parents are far more likely to experience high levels of stress than other adults, and suffer more severe consequences associated with this stress than other adults. This stress is not only emotionally and mentally exhausting, it can lead to serious physical consequences that put your health, wellbeing, and ability to provide compassionate and effective care for your parents at risk.

Managing your caregiver stress is an essential part of being the best caregiver you can be for your seniors. If your stress overwhelms you, you cannot focus properly and will not have the energy or capability to handle your daily challenges in the way that your parents deserve. This can result not only in diminished quality of care for them, but reduced effectiveness in other areas of your life, including your marriage, parenting, and career. The first step in being able to manage your stress properly is acknowledging it is there. Many people are resistant to acknowledging that they feel stress within their care relationship because they think it makes them look as though they do not love their elderly parents, are resentful toward them, or are not capable of handling challenges. It is important to realize that caregiver stress is extremely common and is not an indicator of your love, dedication, or desire for your parents to live a good quality of life.

Like any other type of stress, the emotional and mental effects are often the first thing people notice when suffering with caregiver stress. You may feel confused, foggy, sad, irritable, or tense more often than usual. Less commonly associated with caregiver stress, and yet often far more serious, are the physical signs. These physical signs indicate high levels of stress that are beginning to have a serious negative effect on your body. Recognizing these signs allows you to acknowledge your stress, come to terms with it, and find ways to ease and manage it for your own good as well as the good of everyone in your life.

Some of the physical signs that you are dealing with caregiver stress include:

• Exhaustion or fatigue even if you feel like you have slept enough
• Sleeplessness or increased insomnia
• Frequent headaches
• Aching in your muscles or joints, particularly your neck and shoulders
• Digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, or stomach upset
• Frequent heartburn
• Increased allergy symptoms
• Increased instance of colds and infections, including UTIs and respiratory infections
• Dry, dull hair or hair loss
If you notice these symptoms and are concerned about your level of stress, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss ways you can manage your stress and improve your health and wellbeing. Get in touch with the elder care agency in your area to find out about hiring a caregiver who can supplement your care and give you more time to relax or focus on other aspects of your life. 

If you have an aging loved one and are considering home care services, contact Interim HealthCare today.