With the aging population in Canada, many adult children may take on caring for their parents instead of pacing them in a nursing hime like Craigdarroch Care Home. People who have long-term illnesses or disabilities often receive care from family members, too. If you are a caregiver for your loved one, we have a few tips for you to manage the stress that comes with caregiving.
Recognize your role as a caregiver
You may not think of yourself as a caregiver, but if you are actively providing help to a loved one, that is what you are. It is important to recognize that this role takes up a lot of your time and energy, no matter how much you love the person you’re caring for.
Know the risk factors for experiencing caregiver stress
If you live with the person you care for or feel socially isolated, you are more likely to feel stressed. Other risk factors include having to spend a high number of hours caregiving, having no choice in becoming a caregiver, and having limited coping and problem solving skills. Females and people with limited years of formal education, with depression, or with financial difficulties are also more prone to caregiver stress.
Know when you are stressed
When you are so busy caring for someone else, you may not pay attention to yourself enough. You may have caregiver stress if any of the following applies to you:
- You’re easily angered or irritated
- You sleep too much or too little
- You’re constantly worried, overwhelmed, or sad
- You’re often tired or have lost interest in things you once enjoyed
- You have physical problems like headaches and other pains
- You abuse drugs or alcohol (includes prescription medications).
Know what to do to improve your situation
The first part is recognizing the signs–next you should do something about it. Here are some strategies you can try:
- Set goals for yourself, such as to improve your sleep or to exercise
- Seek support from a formal group (like Family Caregivers Network Support in Victoria) or friends and family on a regular basis–make it a priority
- Stick to your limits of what you can do with caregiving and other parts of your life
- Set a daily routine
- Take on help from others by making a list of what they could do for you, such as taking your loved one out for a few hours or shopping for you
- Know what options are out there for respite, such as short-term care and day centres
If caregiver stress has gotten to you, it may be time to put your loved one in a Victoria BC senior home.