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Tips To Cope With Stress When Caring For Your Elderly Parents

caregiver stress when caring for elderly parents

Image from HealthHub

I quit.

Has that thought appeared while you were caring for your ill or elderly loved ones?

Caregiver burnout may be more common than you imagine as caregivers start to experience extreme stress, fatigue, anxiety or even depression. It occurs when caregivers do not receive the help they require or they try to do more than what they possibly can physically, financially or even emotionally.

Feeling guilty about giving yourself some rest?

Many caregivers are taking care of their loved ones round-the-clock, giving themselves barely any time to rest. As such, caregivers may start to feel overwhelmed when they are unable to juggle all their other commitments, such as work or school, alongside taking care of their loved ones.

Secondly, caregivers tend to set unrealistic expectations on caring for their elderly loved ones. Many expect their loved ones to get healthier, mentally and physically, because of their involvement in caring for them. However, caregivers need to realise that it may be unrealistic for progressive illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease.

What are the common signs of caregiver burnout?

It is important to learn how to be able to identify the warning signs and red flags of possible caregiver burnout for you to take actions immediately, preventing it from getting worse.

One of the obvious pre-burnout signs is when caregivers no longer find meaning in their caregiving task anymore.

Other common signs may also include:

  • Having difficulty sleeping

  • Having a loss of appetite

  • Feeling easily irritable or frustrated

  • Experiencing anxiety and a lack of energy

  • Losing interest in activities you like to do

How can you avoid caregiver burnout and take care of your own mental wellness?

1. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Learn to speak up and ask for help from your friends or families to share the responsibility. Dividing up caregiving tasks prevents you from getting overwhelmed and gives you more time to take care of your own health.

2. Do not bottle up your feelings.

Bottled up emotions will not just go away but rather, stay down till we are unable to contain them anymore, after which they tend to burst out fiercer than before. Find someone you trust – be it a friend or a professional to share about your feelings and frustrations to prevent any emotional build-up.

3. Focus on the things that you can control.

Understand and learn to acknowledge your limits and set realistic goals. Understand that time is limited and it cannot be changed. Instead, focus on being present in that moment and learn to better react in situations.

4. Take care of your own health.

Stay healthy by eating well and getting enough sleep. Remember, you need to take care of yourself before you can take good care of others. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

5. Use respite care services.

Let a professional worker step in to provide relief for a short period of time while you get some well-deserved rest.

Head to our Provider Directory for home care that offers respite care services.

6. Join a caregiver support group.

Share your worries and knowledge with people who are going through similar situations. Know that you are not alone and at the same time, you may be able to receive invaluable knowledge especially if they are caring for someone with the same illness as your loved one.

Click here for the various caregiver support groups available in Singapore.

Improve the lives of you and your loved ones by learning how to prevent caregiver burnout before it happens!

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