By Alex Faubel
Alex enjoys writing about topics related to healthcare and wellness. Today she writes on behalf of Homewatch Caregivers, the nation’s leader in home care services.
Many ailing seniors value their independence and strive to avoid having to leave the comfort and familiarity of their own home at all costs. In turn, the people that care for these aging citizens are often their own daughters and sons who work tirelessly to keep their parents at home. Oftentimes, these caregivers are so focused on caring for their parents that they fail to recognize telltale signs that point to a time when bringing in further care may be necessary.
In addition to caring for an elderly parent, most of these daughters and sons are also maintaining their own households. As a parent becomes more and more ill, the caregiver may not realize that he or she is taking on more responsibility, spending more time visiting and more time at each visit and beginning to become overrun with stress and fatigue.
Below are some indicative signs that you may need to consider bringing on additional help to care for your ailing parent before the stress and influx of responsibilities begins to wear on your own mental and physical health.
Do you feel as if you have much less energy than you once had? Are everyday errands and duties creating more weariness than they once did? You may be burnt out and experiencing fatigue as a result of neglecting your own health, emotions and sleep.
Tip: Delegate. Although you may feel like you are burdening other family members with the responsibilities, chances are they will be happy to help! Allow another family member, friend or professional caregiver to step in and relinquish some of those responsibilities to replenish some much-needed physical and mental strength. Asking for help is the first step; allowing yourself to be helped is the second.
Difficulty Sleeping or Relaxing
On that same note, you may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or relaxing even when help is available to take over your caregiving responsibilities. This is because you are constantly overrun with thoughts of how to control this caregiving situation.
Tip: Surrender some control. It’s important to recognize the things you are able to do while also keeping in mind that you cannot control everything. If you insist upon having every aspect of caring for your aging loved one done your way, you may have a harder time finding people to help you. Give up some control mentally and you may find some relaxation.
There are highly trained professionals ready to suit your every need so you can trust the elder care they provide. Create a custom care plan today for your loved one to ensure the best elderly care goes beyond basic tasks such as bathing and grooming.
Catching Every Cold
Stress can often take a serious toll on your immune system. If you are continually catching ever cold or virus that’s floating around, that may be your body’s way of telling you that you need to take better care of yourself.
Tip: Get regular health check-ups in addition to taking better care of your body. This includes making time for exercise and eating right. These slight changes coupled with a better sleep schedule will boost your body’s ability to ward of predatory infections.
Changes in Mood
Do you find yourself snapping at people without provocation? Are you more irritable and impatient than normal? Chances are exhaustion and lack of sleep are draining you of any positive levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that helps to relay signals from one area of the brain to another. When serotonin is depleted your brain has a difficult time realizing messages of mood, appetite, sleep and social behavior.
Tip: In addition to delegation and relinquishing some control, make sure to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do something for yourself. Whether this is catching a rerun of your favorite show, reading a book to your kids, cooking, meditating or just propping your feet up on the sofa, it’s beyond important for you to salvage your sanity by doing something that makes you happy. And laughter—laughter never hurts.
Depression or Anxiety
Sometimes, a caregiver’s bad mood becomes more of a permanent staple in their life. When this happens, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of depression before they spiral out of control. Begin to concern yourself with your own wellbeing before it becomes a downward dive in hopelessness.
Tip: Get help. Look into hiring a full or part time caregiver to relieve you of some of the taxing duties that come with caregiving. Visit with friends and family and speak up—tell them how you’re feeling rather than keeping all of your stress and anxiety bottled inside.
It’s so important to recognize these signs that you may need additional help as a caregiver before caregiving becomes your life rather than merely being a faction of it. Don’t allow the stress and anxiety of caring for a loved one to dictate the amount of time you can spend with your family, your happiness and your own health—which are the most important things in life.