Warning Signs for Michigan Caregivers to Recognize
Michigan caregivers deal with stress every day. Many have busy careers, in addition to caring for children of their own. Juggling all of these responsibilities often leaves caregivers feeling exhausted and stressed out. That can put a caregivers own health at risk for developing conditions such as back problems, high blood pressure, migraines and more.
So how can you tell if you are suffering from caregiver burnout? Ironically, caregivers are often so overwhelmed they fail to recognize the symptoms.
Recognizing the Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Do any of these sound familiar?
- Fatigue beyond just being tired and sleepy
- Feeling the need to take a nap during the day
- Increasingly frequent headaches
- Insomnia or difficulty staying asleep
- Stomach pains or cramping
- Short-tempered and easily agitated
- Feeling overwhelmed with even the smallest of tasks
- Unexplained anger
- Back pain
- Resenting the loved one for whom you provide care
- A new bad habit such as drinking or smoking
- Losing touch with friends and loved ones
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Failing to make time for exercise
- Poor diet including too much fast food
- Failing to maintain physician appointments and health screenings
Answering “Yes” to more than just a few of these symptoms might mean you are experiencing caregiver overload and need to make some changes.
There are a few factors to consider as you are trying to simplify your schedule and better manage stress. First, take time out to schedule a physical with your primary care physician. It’s important to enlist their help in managing your health and stress.
Next, explore what help is available to assist you with some of the responsibilities you are juggling. That assistance might include:
- Talking with other family members to see who else can help. It might be by providing support with transportation or grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions. Asking for help is the best way to keep yourself and your loved one healthy.
- Consider using adult day programs or in-home respite care for your loved one. Having the senior enjoy a respite stay in an assisted living community for a few weeks can give the caregiver time to rest and recover.
- Talk with your church or synagogue to see if they have any programs that help families. Some have volunteers that make friendly visits to seniors to help around the home or just provide companionship.
- Don’t overlook the resources of your local Agency on Aging. They can help you connect with support in your community.
Finally, explore ways to manage stress. Caregiving is emotionally and physically draining. Finding support to cope is important. A few ideas to consider are:
- Join an online caregiver support group of your peers. The Family Caregiver Alliance and Caring.com are both good sources for connecting with one.
- Consider yoga, Pilates or meditation. Each of these has well known physical and mental health benefits. Even a daily 5 minute meditation can help.
- Make time for friends, family and fun. Even one or two gatherings a month to share a good laugh can help to reduce your stress.
We hope these tips make your role of caregiver more manageable and less stressful.
If you are a caregiver and think we’ve missed something, please share it in the comments below!