For adult children and those who care for aging parents and loved ones, caregiver stress can significantly increase during the holiday season. It is difficult enough to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of providing care at home, and when daily tasks are compounded with the extra demands of holiday preparations and festivities, the stress can feel overwhelming. To help ensure your health and happiness as a caregiver, it is important to understand and identify caregiver stress, as well as what can be done to help cope during the holidays.
Understand Caregiver Stress
Caregiver stress is the term used to describe the emotional, mental and physical strain that can result from caregiving. Experiencing feelings of frustration, guilt and loneliness is not uncommon. Chronic stress can have serious health consequences, including an increased likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Caregiver stress can also lead to depression, anxiety and problems with concentration and memory.
Identify Caregiver Stress
Symptoms that indicate that caregivers are suffering from too much stress include changes in sleep patterns, gaining or losing weight, frequent headaches and feelings of fatigue, irritation, sadness and isolation. Caregivers who never or rarely take a break from their caregiving responsibilities are likely to experience caregiver stress.
Caregiving Strategies to Reduce Stress
Caregivers are often torn between a feeling of guilt that they are not doing enough and a longing to escape from the taxing demands of caregiving. So what can you do to reduce the burden of care? Seek support from family and friends, and consider joining a support group. Support groups are great options for caregivers as it allows them to interact with others who are facing the same challenges.
Getting Help during the Holidays
The added demands of holiday preparations can significantly exacerbate symptoms of caregiver stress. An effective way to alleviate stress during the holidays is with respite care. In-home respite care services delivered by a qualified home care agency offers caregivers the opportunity enjoy time spent alone or with friends and family. Professional home care agencies provide non-medical care to older adults at home so that caregivers can get a much-needed break from the responsibilities that challenge them every day.
If you think you may be showing signs of caregiver stress, understand that you are not alone. Reach out to Home Care Assistance of Toronto and learn how our flexible hourly care plans can provide you with respite and peace of mind. With no-long term contracts or upfront costs required, our Care Managers will help create a plan that meets your needs, holiday schedule and budget. For a complimentary consultation, contact us today at 416-488-8777.