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The Latest Caregiver Support and Advice: Focusing on Mental Health

The compassionate individuals known as caregivers are more essential than possibly ever before. 

That’s why we want to provide the best tips and advice to caregivers, so they can continue to provide the best care and avoid burnout.

The overall population continues to age as we continue in the 21st Century. This trend increases the need for excellent caregiving from health care professionals and family caregivers in America—especially in the times of Covid-19.

These are people who assist other people in need, a spouse or partner, a child with a disability, or other aging family members. 

Ironically, most family caregivers don’t think of themselves as “caregivers.” 

But recognizing yourself in that way might allow you to reframe your caregiving responsibilities and enable you to perceive and access the help you need.

At The Kensington Falls Church, we’ve put together some of the latest and best caregiver advice and caregiver tips to help you out. Let’s take a look.

Recognize the rewards and the stress

There are many rewards to being a caregiver. 

But, for most, being there when your loved one needs you is a core principle and something that gives significant meaning to many caregivers’ lives.

However, the shift in roles and emotions can be challenging. Natural feelings of anger, frustration, exhaustion, loneliness, and sadness are inevitable.

It’s essential to recognize both the rewards and the stresses simultaneously. Caregiver stress can make you vulnerable to changes in your health and well-being. 

The risk factors included for those who experience caregiver stress are:

  • Being female
  • Fewer years of formal education
  • Living directly with the person you’re caring for
  • Isolation (social or otherwise)
  • Signs of depression
  • Difficulties with finances
  • A higher amount of time spent caregiving
  • Short on coping skills or problem-solving abilities
  • Being forced to be the caregiver

Signs of stress

Many caregivers are so focused on their loved ones that they fail to realize their own health and well-being suffer.

Some of the most critical signs of caregiver burnout to watch out for include:

  • Constant feeling over being overwhelmed or concerned
  • Constant fatigue
  • Too much sleep / Not enough sleep
  • Losing weight or a notable increase in weight
  • Irritability and easily angered
  • Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • A pervasive feeling of sadness
  • Frequent headaches, body pain, or similar physical problems
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol, including prescription medications

Over a period of time, too much stress can take its toll on anyone’s health. 

For example, caregivers are more likely to experience depression or anxiety symptoms. They also may not be getting enough sleep, physical activity, or enough of a balanced diet. These factors can increase the risk of medical problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Create stress strategies

No matter who you are, the emotional and physical demands of caregiving can strain the most resilient person. 

It’s imperative to take advantage of many available resources and tools to help you provide care for your loved one’s needs.

Take care of yourself

The best caregiver advice we can give is also the most simple. 

Knowing when you’ve reached your limit is essential. 

Regardless if you are dealing with someone who requires acute care or something more “manageable,” it’s important not to become ill yourself.

Remember this: If a caregiver doesn’t take time to focus on self-care, they soon won’t be able to take care of anyone else. 

The help list

Have a list prepared with ways others could help you. 

When someone offers to help you, you can’t always think of the things that need doing off the top of your head. You can also use this handy list to allow the person offering assistance to choose for themselves what they’d like to do.

These things might include: running an errand, taking the person you care for to a doctor’s appointment (like a checkup, speech therapy classes or physiotherapy) or going grocery shopping.

Have a list of your loved one’s health information and medical information handy to provide to any healthcare professionals.

Find connections

Caregiving resources and support groups are available in many different forms in your community. 

Frequently, some classes teach how to handle your loved one’s specific condition (like Alzheimer’s disease). 

In addition, you can take advantage of local resources like the Eldercare Locator or the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and find local advocacy groups.

Even senior living professionals—like The Kensington Falls Church—partner with other professional organizations to help improve the quality of life for your loved ones. 

Our partnership with Aging Life Care enables us to lead families to the decisions that ensure optimal life options for those they care about, reducing stress and worry.

Check out our events page for more information on upcoming dates! One of our ongoing support groups, Dr. Anya’s Family Caregiver Series runs each month.

If you can afford it, take a leave of absence

Almost 60% of America’s home care caregivers still have an outside job. 

In this situation, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. If you are showing signs of burnout, consider taking leave from your job for a period.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act enables some to take up to 12 weeks off work as unpaid leave. Ask your human resources office about your options.

Look at professional caregiving

For many, it’s hard to imagine leaving your loved one in the care of someone else. But if nothing else, taking respite care can be one of your best choices—both for yourself and the person you’re caring for.

Examples of professional caregivers include:

  • In-home—Nursing and healthcare aides come to your home, providing services or emotional support.
  • Adult day care—Centers that provide care for older adults and young children.
  • Short-term nursing homes—Some memory care homes, assisted living homes, and nursing homes accept people for short stays while caregivers are away.

The Kensington Falls Church—your care partners

There comes the point when you realize that transitioning the care of your loved ones to the caregiving staff at a senior living facility can be the best move you all can make.

The team members at The Kensington Falls Church are not ‘care managers’ as you might find at a nursing home years ago. 

Instead, The Kensington Falls Church team members are your Care Partners. Our team takes on a valued Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.

Discuss options for your loved ones and you by contacting The Kensington Falls Church

Schedule a tour and meet our friendly and dedicated staff. Take a look at everything that our community has to offer. Learn how we can provide you with peace of mind when it comes to your parent’s well-being.

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