Taking care of an aging or disabled loved one can be both a rewarding and challenging undertaking. On the best days, you’re able to spend time with your family member while helping them maintain their dignity and sense of independence. On the tough days, it can seem so stressful and overwhelming that you may begin to question if respite care or an elderly home care service might be a better option.
Caregiver burnout and the feelings of stress and anxiety that come along with being the person responsible for in-home care can have long-lasting effects. Constant worry can weigh on both the mind and the body, causing physical issues like headaches, panic attacks, and insomnia. Here are some proven ways to reduce anxiety when you’re an in-home caregiver providing respite caregiver.
- Constant worry and fear
- Not able to stay calm or still
- Sleep and appetite problems
- Anger and irritability
- Heart racing and shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
As a caregiver, it is normal to feel worried or anxious sometimes. But if these fears become unrelenting, it might be time to take action.
Tips for Overcoming Caregiver Anxiety
Seek Professional Help
Skipping over this tip might be tempting. After all, ‘seek professional help’ seems to be the go-to response for a number of issues. But it’s actually an important step in recovery. It’s important to make sure your anxiety really stems from the stresses of providing in-home care and not some other mental or physical issue. Also, your doctor might suggest options for you (i.e., medication, therapy) that can jumpstart your relief.
One of the most common causes of anxiety is having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. Caregivers often feel frustrated and defeated as they juggle their own responsibilities along with those they provide care for. It doesn’t take much for things to come crashing down.
Instead of getting overly upset when the house isn’t spotless or you had to reschedule an important appointment, ask yourself, “Am I doing the best I can?” If the answer is ‘yes,” then your expectations may be set too high. Is it reasonable to expect yourself to be able to keep a super clean home while also working full-time and providing care for your parents? Is it fair to assume that your mother will be able to fix her own lunch even though her eyesight is very poor? Probably not.
If you must accomplish something that seems daunting, break the task into smaller parts, prioritize, and make lists to remind yourself of your goals. Being realistic with yourself and lowering expectations when it comes to certain situations, you will start to accept and redirect the feelings of anxiety when they come up.
Ask and Accept Help
“I don’t like to ask for help,” Melissa admitted. As the only one of her siblings who was helping provide care for their mother, Melissa often felt angry, anxious, and resentful. One of the main reasons some caregivers feel overwhelmed and overstressed while helping meet their parents’ needs is because they are doing it all alone.
Instead of continuing to go at it all by yourself, consider asking for help from others. This can be a scary thing to do for those of us who have a hard time releasing control or depending on others. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a vital part of releasing anxiety.
You can start by asking family members for help, but if that doesn’t work, you may have to consider other options like respite care. Not only are caregivers at Senior1Care of Fort Wayne dependable and flexible, but they’re also affordable and can help with daily tasks like light housework, cooking, personal hygiene, and shopping. With trained professionals handling some of the more menial duties, you’ll be able to focus on the most important things: self-care and spending quality time with your loved ones.