For example: Do you think you are being selfish if you put your needs first? Is it frightening to think of your own needs?
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What is the fear about? Do you have trouble asking for what you need? Do you feel inadequate if you ask for help? Do you feel you have to prove that you are worthy of the care recipient's affection? Do you do too much as a result?
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Here are some of the most commonly expressed: I am responsible for my parent's health. If I do it right, I will get the love, attention, and respect I deserve. Our family always takes care of their own. I promised my father I would always take care of my mother. Tool 1: Reducing Personal Stress How we perceive and respond to an event is a significant factor in how we adjust and cope with it.
Your level of stress is influenced by many factors, including the following: Whether your caregiving is voluntary. If you feel you had no choice in taking on the responsibilities, the chances are greater that you will experience strain, distress, and resentment.
Your relationship with the care recipient. Sometimes people care for another with the hope of healing a relationship. If healing does not occur, you may feel regret and discouragement. Your coping abilities. How you coped with stress in the past predicts how you will cope now. Identify your current coping strengths so that you can build on them. Your caregiving situation. Some caregiving situations are more stressful than others.
For example, caring for a person with dementia is often more stressful than caring for someone with a physical limitation. Whether or not support is available. Steps to Managing Stress Recognize warning signs early. These might include irritability, sleep problems, and forgetfulness.
Know your own warning signs, and act to make changes. Identify sources of stress. Identify what you can and cannot change. Remember, we can only change ourselves; we cannot change another person. When you try to change things over which you have no control, you will only increase your sense of frustration. What can I change? Taking some action to reduce stress gives us back a sense of control. Stress reducers can be simple activities like walking and other forms of exercise, gardening, meditation, or having coffee with a friend. Identify some stress reducers that work for you. Tool 2: Setting Goals Setting goals or deciding what you would like to accomplish in the next three to six months is an important tool for taking care of yourself.
Here are some sample goals you might set: Take a break from caregiving. Get help with caregiving tasks like bathing and preparing meals. Engage in activities that will make you feel more healthy. Goals are generally too big to work on all at once.
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We are more likely to reach a goal if we break it down into smaller action steps. Then get started! Possible action steps: Make an appointment for a physical checkup. Take a half-hour break once during the week.
Walk three times a week for 10 minutes. Tool 3: Seeking Solutions Seeking solutions to difficult situations is, of course, one of the most important tools in caregiving. Steps for Seeking Solutions Identify the problem. Look at the situation with an open mind. The real problem might not be what first comes to mind. Thinking that you have to do everything yourself. List possible solutions.
Call Family Caregiver Alliance or the Eldercare Locator see Resources list and ask about agencies in your area that could help provide care. Select one solution from the list. Then try it!
Evaluate the results. Ask yourself how well your choice worked.
Try a second solution. Use other resources.
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Ask friends, family members, and professionals for suggestions. If nothing seems to help, accept that the problem may not be solvable now. You can revisit it at another time. Respect the rights and feelings of others. Recognize that the other person has the right to express feelings. Be clear and specific. Speak directly to the person. Other people are not mind readers. When both parties speak directly, the chances of reaching understanding are greater.
Be a good listener. Listening is the most important aspect of communication. If you know a friend enjoys cooking but dislikes driving, your chances of getting help improve if you ask for help with meal preparation. Resist asking the same person repeatedly.
7 Tips for Caregivers to Relieve Stress
Do you keep asking the same person because she has trouble saying no? Pick the best time to make a request. Timing is important.