Caregivers Need Stress Relief

Caregiving is perceived by non-caregivers as thoughtless work requiring no effort or participation. Caregivers stay home, give medication reminders, and complete common domestic tasks while enjoying their favorite afternoon soap opera, right? Wrong! Caring for the frail, ailing, and disabled is a grueling task repeated daily with limited sleep. Monotonous labor intensive schedules cause physical and emotional stress. Constantly answering demands of care-recipients leaves no time for self-care. Balancing work schedules and doctors’ appointments is almost impossible. Worrying about the welfare of a loved-one and having no one to discuss the possible devastating outcome leaves a mind heavy and drained of hope. No one cares about a caregiver’s anguish and suffering. Their health is no concern as long as non-caregivers can continue their uninterrupted lives.  

Caregivers need adequate stress relief and dependable support systems in order to perform daily functions effectively. Depression, mental breakdowns, and aggression are all results of an overworked caregiver. Endless days and long nights allow no sleep. Caregiving duties are continuous and rarely end at a specific time. There’s no TGIF or end-of-day routine. Weekdays and weekends blend together.   

When are caregivers given the opportunity to de-stress and rest? A break is a rare instance when a family member volunteers to watch the care-recipient for a few hours and the caregiver sneaks away for a little alone time. These few hours are usually spent worrying or wondering what other daily tasks need to be completed. Sadly, caregivers often don’t receive relief from their hectic schedules. Care continues until the care-recipient is satisfied or has fallen asleep. Completion may take minutes, hours, or an entire day.

Caregivers providing in-home care for loved-ones don’t have consistent work schedules and are unable to make “after work” plans. They live and sleep in their workplace. Relentless hours and limited sleep will break even the strongest person. Caregivers are expected to carry on with a smile without inconveniencing onlookers. Their crying episodes, social isolation, and anger outbursts are considered ridiculous. How can staying at home caring for one person be so stressful? You need to get yourself together! Oh you would rather put him/her in a nursing home? How can you be depressed? You’re overreacting! These are questions and statements expressed by family and friends to stressed caregivers.  

Caregivers understand the demands and struggles of caregiving. These forgotten heroes need stress relief in order to maintain sanity and provide consistent quality care. A simple telephone call from a friend or relative allowing a caregiver vent time is sometimes all that’s needed. Refusing and ignoring their requests for help is narrow-minded and selfish. Without stress relief, caregivers cannot adequately care for patients. Lack of focus and physical exhaustion hinder completion of daily tasks. Denying help results in emotional breakdowns. Constant worry of grim medical outcomes causes depression and anxiety. These conditions are treated with an anti-anxiety medication prescription. The caregiver has now become the care-recipient. Caregivers’ anxieties, depressions, and stress are preventable by volunteering time and offering respite care. Thank you for reading. Take care and please share! 

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2 thoughts on “Caregivers Need Stress Relief

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I spent the last few years caring for my Mom. I knew it was the right thing to do and I will always treasure the time I had with her. I got to know her as a person and not just as my Mother and she became my best friend. In the process though, I lost myself. I wasn’t taking care of myself and I wasn’t getting any support, to the point that I became very unhealthy. People would always say what a nice thing I was doing, but I don’t think people saw the difficult side, the hard stuff, the stuff I wasn’t ready for. It took it’s toll. All I can say is make sure you exercise self-care – I know those sound just like words, but don’t get consumed, do good things for yourself as well. It’s a life choice that is not really valued or recognized in our culture as work, but it is, it is very difficult work. If there is some way I can be there for you, feel free to reach out. Try not to do it ALL on your own. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your insghtful repsonse! Caregiving has been my most difficult but rewarding life experience….so far. Yes, others have nice things to say, but are not engrossed in caregiving’s daily grind. My grandmother and I created an unbreakable bond that I will forever cherish. There were MANY difficult days testing faith and patience. However, the security and happiness I was able to give my grandmother was worth the struggle. I couldn’t agree with you more….exercise self-care. It’s vital during the caregiving process. Try to pay attention and care for yourself! Thank you for looking in Harlon!

      Liked by 1 person

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