Providing care to someone in need is an extremely noble, honorable, and selfless choice. Caregiving has been shown to be very rewarding and many caregivers would not have it any other way. However, caregiving is also stressful, tiring, consuming, and challenging. Each situation is different, but almost all caregivers experience some level of stress, anxiety, or worry about their situation and the future.
Caregivers need to be aware of the signs of stress and burnout, as do friends and family members of caregivers. Therefore, we’ve compiled the 7 warning signs of caregiver stress for caregivers providing care to someone with incontinence.
It is common for a person to spend less time socializing when they become a caregiver. However, it is important for caregivers to remain close to family and friends and spend time away for their care recipient. If you notice you are too tired to go out to dinner or meet up with friends, you are likely stressed and worn out from caregiving. Try to notice this and make efforts to give yourself a break and find activities that relieve your stress. You can also connect with other caregivers through online networks, such as the Caregiver Action Network, Family Support Village, or Facebook Support Groups.
It’s easy to get anxious about the future and wonder what may happen next. Is the condition going to get worse? What is next to come? These questions are valid, understandable, and normal. It is smart to plan for the future and be prepared. When these questions begin to consume your thoughts, time, and energy, then it’s time to talk to a friend, neighbor, or professional about your situation. This will help you realize your feelings, as well as help you get advice and tips about how to reduce your anxiety.
An unruly, out of typical shape, home can be another sign of caregiver stress. If the caregiver or care recipients house is all out of sorts and more messy than usual, it’s likely that the tasks of caregiving have overtaken the normal household routines. If you begin to see things more out of place than normal, this is a sign of caregiver stress. Ask for help or hire help. You do not need to be responsible for all caregiving duties and household duties. Asking a family member, friend, or hiring help can help alleviate your stress.
If you or a caregiver you know is easily irritable, they are likely stressed. Saying things like “just leave me alone!” or “gosh, stop talking to me!” are common phrases for stressed caregivers. Take a break and find someone or somewhere to provide respite care. You need to make sure you are taking care of yourself too!
A general lack of interest and concentration can be another sign of stress. Forgetting to cook dinner or missing appointments are examples of lack of concentration. Caregivers can get so wrapped up in the lives and care of their care recipient that they lack interest and focus on activities and events in their lives. Keep a calendar with reminders and schedule time for yourself! Calendars and to-do lists can help you stay organized, while time for yourself will help you find new energy and focus.
Developing health issues as a caregiver is a huge risk for adults considering caregiving. Research has shown the negative health impacts of adult caregivers, particularly adults over 65. It is very important to continue to manage your own health and not allow caregiving to lead to worsened health issues. Make sure to schedule your own annual check ups so that you remain health and active.
The final warning sign of caregiver stress with incontinence is depression. If you are recognizing that you, or a caregiver you know, is less energetic, less interested in activities, and helpless or hopeless, this could be a sign of depression. Depression is not just feeling sad or disinterested for a few days, depression is more than that. Depression is a very serious condition and should not be taken lightly. Talk to a medical professional if you think you or someone you know is depressed. With depression, not only will the care of yourself suffer, but the person receiving care will also be affected. If you are seeking resources, checkout this Depression Help Guide, the National Helpline, and 10 Natural Depression Treatments.
Caregiver stress and caregiver burnout are the two most serious negative outcomes of providing care to another person. Often, caregivers put the needs of their care recipient before their own. This is very noble, but in order to continue providing care for that person, you must also appropriately care for yourself! The Mayo Clinic has great resource for combating caregiver stress, including strategies, respite options, and more.
Thank you to all the caregivers for all the hard work, time, and energy you put into providing care! Tranquility premium incontinence products can help reduce caregiver stress resulting from incontinence. Caregiving is a challenge. Caregiving for an adult with mismanaged incontinence is harder. Ask Tranquility how we can help you manage incontinence, so you can focus on all the other aspects of caregiving, including caring for yourself!