November is National Caregivers Month. It’s a time to recognize, support, and empower family caregivers.
One of the most comprehensive sources of help is www.caregiver.org, the website of the Family Caregiver Alliance. It is an online service that provides quality information, support, and resources for family caregivers of adults with chronic physical or cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, and other illnesses.
Sixty-eight percent of caregivers are women (aarp.org) who spend an average of 20 hours per week caring for a loved one. Whether you are a caregiver or in a relationship with a caregiver, do you know the signs and symptoms of caregiver distress?
These symptoms may include:
feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried,
feeling tired often,
getting too much sleep or not enough sleep,
gaining or losing weight,
becoming easily irritated or angry,
losing interest in activities you used to enjoy,
having frequent headaches,
bodily pain, or other physical problems.
These symptoms can also give way to burnout. Caregivers need physical help with tasks, decisions, meal prep, errands, and chores. They especially need emotional support to help them deal with the stress of caring for an elderly person or other loved one with special needs. Most people do not know that caregiving is one of the toughest and most stressful jobs. This is because it is characterized by high levels of “job strain.” Job strain includes having high levels of stress with low levels of control over how much, how often, and when caregiving will next be required.
If you are experiencing caregiver stress, connect with FSEAP for counselling or an eldercare consultation.