“Most Americans will be informal caregivers at some point during their lives. During a given year, there are more than 44 million Americans (21% of the adult population)who will provide care to an elderly or disabled person 18 years or older. Altogether, informal caregivers provide 80% of the long-term care in the United States.”
US Department of Health & Senior Services
Ten Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress:
1. Denial – My mom does not have dementia, she’s just forgetful at times.
2. Guilt – I promised my father I would never put him in a nursing home.
3. Anger – Why did my parents do this to me? Sometimes a caregiver is so angry it come to a point where they want to physically hurt their loved one. When this happens steps need to be made to protect the client while getting professional for the caregiver.
4. Depression – Feeling sad like there is no way out, periods of crying and disinterested in daily activities. (There are many other signs of depression)
5. Exhausted – Never feeling rested even after sleeping through the night. This can be especially true for those who provide care in their home. When the client is home the caregiver often feels like they never get a good nights sleep because they are always on alert for their loved getting up or calling out for help.
6. Social Withdrawal – The caregiver devotes all their time to their loved one and stops going out with friends or participating in social activities they once enjoyed.
7. Irritability or overacting to minor problems – Caregivers can be on guard and can overreact to minor problems. If a caregiver feels or is told they overact one idea that can help is to work on the problem immediately not wait for something major to occur.
8. Lack of concentration – Constantly going from one project to another never getting any completed.
9. Physical Problems – Constantly feeling sick, going to the doctor frequently and often being told there is nothing wrong.
10. Neglecting Responsibilities – Caretaker feels like they can not keep up with the everyday demands of their life. This may include keeping up with family responsibilities.
If you find yourself in any of these categories find someone you can talk to. It could be a family member, clergy, or a professional. With the proper help all of these signs listed above can get better. And often times, knowing that legal and financial affairs are in order will help relieve caregiver stress, because the caregiver knows there is a plan and people to help implement that plan.