April Is Stress Awareness Month: Now’s the Time to Address Caregiver Stress

April Is Stress Awareness Month: Now’s the Time to Address Caregiver Stress

A caregiver from Heather Glen working with a resident.

April 26, 2022

Caregivers are extraordinary workers that we turn to in times of hardship and struggle during the aging process, and they carry an immense amount of kindness, patience, empathy and self-motivation in their work—but, like the average person, they can also experience burnout, stress and self-doubt in such a high-pressure role. April is stress awareness month, and now’s the perfect time to talk about caregiving and the stress it can potentially cause. At Heather Glen Senior Living, we know that this issue is important to address, so read on to find out more about caregiver stress and the best ways to manage it. 

A high-pressure role

Whether you’re a caregiver for a family member, a caregiver at a state-of-the-art facility like Heather Glen, or an at-home caregiver for a variety of patients—the high pressures and vital responsibilities that you face could quite possibly lead to burnout and stress. Caregiving can be a tough long-term commitment, and although rewarding, the emotional impact it can have could lead to an array of health problems—both mentally and physically. Over time, the stress can affect the way that caregivers feel and the way they function, and it can even undermine their ability to provide proper care. Whether you’ve just started caregiving or have been doing it for decades—there’s no doubt that this can come with intense challenges and severe emotional distress. 

Caregivers deal with an array of stressors on an everyday basis, from watching a loved one decline in health to dealing with the frustration of demanding needs. It can be particularly disheartening and stress-inducing if you feel that you’re in over your head, if there’s no hope that your loved one or patient will get better, or if, despite your best efforts, their condition is gradually deteriorating. It’s difficult to find reason during these hard times in this career, and it can be even more difficult to find ways to cope or deal with the stress. 

Why stress awareness is important

If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, or if the caregiver is unaware of their condition, it can take a huge toll on health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout, a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. When a caregiver gets to the point of burnout, they and the person they’re caring for both end up facing the repercussions, and both can end up suffering in silence. It’s important for caregivers to be aware of their own health, and symptoms of burnout may include: 

  • Anxiety, depression and irritability
  • Feeling tired or fatigued often
  • Withdrawal from friends or family
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Getting sick more often than usual
  • New or worsening health problems
  • Emotional or physical exhaustion

With an increase in caregivers experiencing overwhelming stress, it’s crucial for caregivers and their loved ones to keep an eye out for these symptoms and signs to help prevent burnout and further health problems.

Ways to manage caregiver stress

While there’s no clear solution to eliminating caregiver burnout or stress, there are a few preventative measures to take to stop it from happening or worsening. It’s important for caregivers to surround themselves with the people they love the most—whether it’s a family member or a group of close friends—and to put forth effort to go out in social settings and make time for themselves. Get out of the house, find ways to pamper yourself, and remember that what you do is greatly appreciated by your patient or loved one, even if they don’t express it enough. Additionally, there are local and online support groups for caregivers, where you can express your feelings and listen to others who face similar challenges—and it’s an incredible way to form a bond and feel less alone in your struggles. 

Most importantly, it’s essential for caregivers to take care of themselves the same way that they take care of their loved one. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are great habits to practice regularly, and both can serve as fantastic stress relievers and mood enhancers for people with high-pressure jobs like caregiving. Keeping on top of doctor visits and getting plenty of sleep are also very important steps to take to relieve stress and improve overall health, and even if they seem like they don’t particularly matter—they play a huge role in managing caregiver stress. It’s important to remember to love yourself, too, and to take care of your own health for one step closer to happiness and contentment for those suffering with caregiver burnout. 

Heather Glen is here to help

At Heather Glen Senior Living, we understand that despite the reward and gratification that caregiving can provide—it is not an easy role to take on, and it’s important to address the reality of what caregivers can go through. Our team is here to help take the weight off of your shoulders by providing only the utmost care and experience for your loved one, and we’re dedicated to continuously expanding our offerings and ensuring that our residents are as healthy and happy as possible. If you would like to learn more about our company and our mission, or to set up a tour of our one-of-a-kind community, don’t hesitate to reach out at (610) 841- 4478 or contact us online at any time.

Ask Kim & Jessica