caregiver with elderly womanHave you recently taken on the role of caregiver for a loved one? According to the Mayo Clinic, about 1 in 3 adults in the United States provides care to adults as informal caregivers. This includes caring for those who suffer from the physical and mental difficulties of aging.

While it’s admirable to take on this responsibility, caregivers should also focus on keeping themselves healthy. Here are three struggles one may face and how to address each issue.

1. Physical Stress

As a caregiver, your primary focus is your loved one’s health and safety. As such, you put a lot of time and effort into addressing their needs, from checking in several times a day to providing round-the-clock care.

While working to provide the best care, you may forget to take care of yourself. Caregivers may experience frequent headaches, body pain, lack of sleep and feelings of depression, all of which can take a toll on physical and mental health. Drastic weight gain or loss is also common, due to a change in appetite or diet.

According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Alzheimer’s caregivers in particular are at increased risk of high blood pressure or heart disease. To combat these overarching effects, schedule time for yourself each day. Whether to take a nap, exercise or read a book, it’s important to set time aside to take care of your well-being.

2. Financial Difficulties

One of the most common struggles to come with being a caregiver is financial challenges. Typically, caring for a loved one is not a paying job. You might have put your career on hold or cut back on work hours to make time to care for a family member in need.

Medical bills are only one piece of the puzzle. Caregivers also have to consider the daily necessities and supplies a loved one needs, including food, clothes, toiletries and medicine.

To cut back on costs, try buying certain products in bulk! Wholesale toiletries and non-perishable foods can save you time and money from week to week.

3. Emotional Impact

While the role of caregiver can have a physical impact on your body, this responsibility may also strongly affect your social life. Caregiving will likely take over most of your free time.

At times, you might feel isolated or anxious. Studies show caregivers often experience more depressive symptoms and mental health problems compared to non-caregivers.

You may also be frustrated about missing out on other activities or suddenly lose interest in what you once loved doing. When this starts to happen, consider taking a step back and letting another family member help out.

Consider Respite Care

Respite care is available to provide caregivers temporary relief from their duties. It may be considered a viable option if you are going on vacation, have a work or family obligation or simply need a break. At Avon Health Center, we understand you may need to take a step back from the mental, physical and emotional toll of caregiving – our team is here to help!

Our talented group of nurses provide a safe and comfortable environment for your loved one to keep the experience stress-free while you are away. We also specialize in the following areas of key medical care:

  • I.V. therapy
  • Tube feeding
  • Pain management
  • Wound care
  • Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)
  • X-Ray, laboratory and respiratory services
  • Non-ventilator-dependent pulmonary management

When you’re feeling overworked, there’s no shame in asking for assistance. If you’re looking for a temporary space for your loved one to receive expert respite care, contact Avon Health Center today.