More Caregiver Stress: What are your options?

When a loved one becomes ill and needs homecare, members of the family often serve as caregivers, giving up a lot (sometimes all) of their personal and professional lives to look after their ailing loved one. And while a lot of articles have been written about caregiver stress and what can be done to help alleviate it, a quick summary of main symptoms and remedies of this stress can be essential in order to spot and cope with the condition as best as possible.

First, stress among caregivers can be a common condition that can often go unnoticed. Because the caregiver is helping a family member with a debilitating condition, often times attention will be paid to the condition of the loved one who is ill and not the stress of the caregiver; furthermore caregivers can feel guilty drawing attention to their stress, thus taking attention away from the loved one who is truly ill.

Of course caregiver stress is a very serious condition, one that can severely damage the health of all parties involved.

Family members should therefore take it upon themselves to check in and keep track of the caregiver’s condition and look for signs of stress, which can include:


  • Lack of sleep
  • Inability to fall asleep
  • Anxiousness and nervousness
  • Feelings of depression and ineffectualness
  • A general withdrawing from social interactions
  • Feelings of anger and irritability
  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • Health problems (a lack of appetite, etc.)

Spending time with caregivers in your family and looking for any of these symptoms can help determine whether or not excessive stress has taken hold.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, consider some of the following options:

  • Talk to them, so you can get a sense of why they’re frustrated and what you might be able to do to help.
  • Check out different options that might be available for them in the community (examples include adult daycare, onsite/in homecaregivers, support groups, etc.)
  • Offer your own support and help (in the form of verbal encouragement, assistance with their jobs, assistance with other errands (cooking, cleaning, etc.), alerting other family members to the problem so they can help out too.
  • Remind them of the importance of taking care of themselves and not feeling guilty for doing so.

Often times family members can feel detached from related caregivers as they aren’t able to understand exactly what the person is going through or how to help. Of course, the easiest thing to do is ask, but sometimes it is hard to break through the initial, superficial responses to see what’s really going on. Researching the condition of the loved one in need of care can help give you a better idea of what the person is dealing with, and also give you a better idea of how you can help.

If you are worried that a loved one is experiencing excessive stress, try some of the ideas offered above, and continue offering your support and attention as much as possible. Sometimes that is the best anyone can offer and can be the start of building a relationship of trust and support that can defuse and prevent the difficult condition of caregiver stress.

Finding a caring, professional in home caregiver or health professional can be challenging. You want to be sure that that the person you are bringing into assist with everyday needs will provide quality care. Quality doesn’t mean just showing up, it means being there emotionally to help keep spirits high and improve quality of life. (taken from Medical News, Brandon Thomas, president and founder of CaregiverHub)

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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