Managing a senior loved one’s care can be a full-time job. In many cases, an adult child is trying to juggle their family and their job with caring for an aging parent. The stress this creates can take a toll on both your mental and physical health.
Women are at higher risk
than men for developing anxiety while caregiving for a senior. It’s important to learn the warning signs of caregiver overload. Failing to recognize the symptoms can lead to a serious medical condition for the caregiver including a heart attack, diabetes or a stroke.
Common Signs of Caregiver Anxiety
If you’re like most Indiana caregivers, busy is your middle name. When you are trying to manage a senior loved one’s care, it is easy neglect your own well-being.
The common signs of caregiver burnout
to be on the lookout for include:
- Anxiety, depression and a short fuse
- Inability to concentrate
- New or worsening health problems
- Weight gain
- Failure to maintain your own responsibilities
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Chronic headaches
Individually, it’s easy to ignore these signs. This is why it’s important to take a step back and objectively evaluate your emotional and physical state. If you find yourself exhibiting more than one or two of these symptoms, it’s important to take a time out. Remember, if your health declines your caregiving performance will suffer, too.
Tips for Reducing Caregiver Stress
Tip #1: Lighten Your Load
If you can’t find a balance in life that allows you to stay healthy while caregiving, take a step back. While it might be tough to admit you can’t do it all, it’s time to be realistic and find avenues for help.
Respite care can be a great option. Check to see if your church has a friendly visitor program where volunteers visit seniors who need help. Your aging loved one can also stay in an assisted living community, like Five Star Senior Living
, for a week or two. They receive all the benefits of a long-term resident, and you get a much-deserved break.
Tip #2: Limit Your Caffeine Intake
While it seems counterintuitive when you are tired, too much caffeine might be slowing you down. Consuming stimulants like caffeine can give you an energy buzz, but it also increases anxiety. Opt for a short nap or a quick walk around the block to boost your endorphins.
Tip #3: Join a Support Group
Talking with other adult children who care for an aging parent is an effective stress reducer. You can find support groups for Indiana caregivers geared toward aging in general or on specific health-related topics. These include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, end of life care and more.
Tip #4: Begin a New Exercise Routine
It isn’t uncommon for caregivers to experience weight gain while caring for an aging parent. Because you are so focused on their well-being, you might forget about your own. Taking two fifteen-minute exercise breaks each day can help. Practice yoga in the morning and take a walk in the afternoon. Or take a mid-day break to ride a stationary bike. The benefits of exercise range from a clearer mind to a reduced risk for illness.
Anxiety Tip #5: Begin Journaling
Writing your thoughts down on paper can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. The very act of journaling shifts the burden from a sub-conscious worry to one you can name. It helps puts your worries into perspective and allows you to find creative solutions to problems.
Find more helpful tips
on caregiving and senior living, we invite you to follow Five Star Senior Living’s blog created for especially for Indiana seniors and their caregivers.