If you’ve spent any time taking care of someone who can’t manage on their own—a spouse with a chronic illness or a child with special needs, perhaps—you’ve probably experienced first-hand how caregiver stress can change your life. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your struggle to find relief from the stress symptoms that caregiving causes.
Want to learn what might be causing your stress? Here are six common causes.
Feelings of Isolation
Caregiving often requires round-the-clock care. Being on call 24/7 can lead to feelings of isolation from the rest of the world. You no longer have time to see your friends because your loved one needs you. Leaving your loved one alone could endanger their safety, so you find that you are much more tied to your home than you were before.
For caregivers charged with taking care of a parent who can no longer live or function on their own, the change in roles can be a jarring thing to experience. As a child, you are used to relying on your parents to help you, not the other way around. When you were still little, your mother or father dressed you, bathed you, and fed you. It is understandably difficult to start taking care of these types of things for your parents.
On the other hand, your parent is probably struggling to cope with having to rely on you for support. They are probably not used to feeling so helpless. The frustration that both you and your loved one can feel often leads to conflict, which can lead to more stress.
When your loved one experiences a significant decline in health, more than likely you are dealing with financial strain as the medical bills pile up. On top of that, caregiving takes a lot of time. When you’re caring for a loved one, you can’t work, so the problem grows exponentially.
A Lack of “Alone Time”
It may seem contradictory to feel isolated at the same time that you need some solitude, but these two feelings are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes you need to see people. Sometimes you just need to be alone. Because you are responsible for your loved one all day, you might not even have the time to sit down and enjoy a book. Not getting time to yourself can cause significant stress.
No Free Time
When you are a caregiver, almost everything that you do is for the benefit of someone else. Rarely will you have the luxury of caring for yourself. Always feeling like you might be needed any second can take a significant toll on your nerves.
If you do get a chance to take care of your own needs, you might feel guilty because of it. Maybe you think that you are neglecting your loved one by taking time for yourself. Guilt is a common feeling that caregivers experience.
Get Control of Your Caregiver Stress
Whatever the cause of your caregiver stress, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Not only are there support groups for caregivers—there are services that can help take away some of the pressure. Get in touch with Granny NANNIES of Miami to learn how we can help.