Tips for Finding Caregiver SupportJanuary 18, 2023
When one thinks of a caregiver, they often imagine an individual who works for a caregiving facility. This isn’t a wrong image to come to mind, however, it’s the average person who is more likely to carry that title. One in three adults provides unpaid care to another adult in the United States.
It is rewarding to offer a loved one the support they need to live comfortably at home. Despite all the highs, taking on this role can be a stressful shift. Having help in your work is one of the best ways to combat feelings of stress. Use these tips for finding caregiver support to create a system of support early.
What is caregiver stress?
Caregiver stress refers to the many worries and anxieties that can plague a family caregiver. Just as stress can have negative implications on the health of seniors, it can do the same to caregivers. Regular feelings of stress put caregivers at a higher risk of getting sick and developing conditions like depression.
Caregiver stress manifests differently in each individual. However, if you notice any of the below signs, it may be time to reach out for help.
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Regular feelings of worry, sadness, and anger
- Loss of interest in what you enjoy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in weight
- Frequent headaches and other bodily pain
Talk to family and friends
As you take on the responsibilities of caring for an elderly loved one, try not to do it all on your own. If you have nearby family, talk to them about offering a helping hand. Sit the family down together and discuss everyone’s availability. Then, you can make care arrangements for your loved one that works well for all of you.
Depending on your family’s availability, this could mean that they are responsible for driving your elderly loved one to appointments. If they have more time, they could take over care one or two days a week. Regardless, this leaves you with a regular break.
If you have close friends who are willing to help, ask them to prepare dinner for your loved one that can be heated up throughout the week. They could even sit with your loved one on occasion when you have certain things you need to take care of.
Talk to your loved one’s neighbors
Those who live in the homes around your loved one are also great resources for you. If you don’t visit your elderly loved one every day, they can check up on them for you. This will provide you peace of mind knowing that they are all right.
Alternatively, if you don’t hear from your loved one for a little while, their neighbor can run over to check the home while you make your way there. Make sure your elderly loved one is familiar with this neighbor and arrangement, so they won’t be frightened by their sudden appearance.
Find a support group
A reliable support system is invaluable to your mental health. However, you may find that your friends and family can’t provide you everything you need. You might feel uncomfortable divulging your confidential feelings, or they may not be able to sympathize with you in the way you need.
If this is the case, consider joining a caregiver support group. Don’t worry about not feeling comfortable– there are a wide variety of support groups designed to suit any number of individuals. Some include:
- Facilitator-led. This type of support group is led by a trained individual—such as a social worker, psychologist, or member of the clergy—who helps facilitates thoughtful dialogue. These professionals are great at leading conversations, but may not completely understand what you are going through.
- Peer-led. A volunteer caregiver organizes this support group. Many enjoy this option because the group facilitator truly understands exactly what you are going through, however, they don’t have group training to organize a conversation.
- Targeted groups. Oftentimes, you feel more comfortable in a support group of those with similar life experiences. There are caregiver support groups for specific demographics, such as Black caregivers, LGBTQ caregivers, or caregivers of a certain age.
- Groups for specific conditions. If your loved one is suffering through a specific illness—such as dementia, heart disease, or cancer—you may want to talk about the trials that come with it. A support group of those caring for a loved one with a similar condition can empathize and potentially offer helpful tips.
Support from Home Care Powered by AUAF
Acting as a caregiver is exponentially more stressful when you are forced to take time off work. But did you know that you can be paid for the care you already provide your loved one? At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our family caregiver program offers you the training you need to become a certified caregiver and receive compensation.
If you would like more information on our program, call us at (773) 274-9262.
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