Kiplinger: “Managing Stress a Must for Caregivers”

Most of you are familiar with Kiplinger as a major financial and business advisor service / Web site. I was interested in an article on a very different topic, that illustrates just what how much our society is needing to deal with our aging as a population and the concerns associated with that phenomenon.

The article is “Managing Stress a Must for Caregivers“. There is not a lot that is new in the article, for folks like us, at Support For Home In-Home Care. We deal with elders and home care issues every single day. However, it is very good to see journals and businesses that really have no direct involvement in care for seniors talking about the problems.

One of the family caregivers the article talks about has a very good rule. He spends time away from home, away from his loved one who needs care, every single day. It may only be 3 or 4 hours, but it enables him to go to the gym or golf or meet friends – just unwind and decompress from the stresses of the hardest job in the world – that of the family caregiver.

Caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are particularly vulnerable to high levels of stress. Dealing with severe changes in a loved one’s personality and behavior can be grueling for caregivers, especially when 24-hour attention is required.
Stressed-out caregivers may suffer from any number of symptoms, such as sleeplessness and anger. And burnout can lead to stress-related illnesses, including depression and heart ailments. “We see caregivers getting sick,” [says the Alzheimer’s Association.]
Among other ways to spend some time, find a caregiver support group that matches the situation you are in, to be able to talk with folks with the same stresses and challenges.
If friends or family members can handle the respite period for the family caregiver, great. If not, find a high integrity home care agency – check out members of the Home Care Association of America – in the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Board of Directors of that organization.
We tell our family caregivers, you have to be selfish enough to take care of yourself, if you are going to be a great caregiver to your loved one.
We would love to hear your experiences and thoughts. Best wishes. Bert

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