Coping with Caregiver Stress

Jennifer MacLeod

Caregiver stress takes many forms; it can look like sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, changes in appetite or mood, financial pressure, and isolation, to name only a few. And as awful as it feels, it can sneak up on you. 

You manage day-to-day but there are cumulative effects that eventually build until you simply have to face that things are NOT “ok”. 

When you start to feel out of balance, take stock of your tools and options for support. 

Talk about it!

Self-awareness and a willingness to talk openly about how caregiving affects your life, is a healthy approach and one of your best defences in preventing an overwhelming experience. 

Reach out to a trusted friend, local support group, or mental wellness professional. You are not alone - talking about your experiences with someone who’s been there, or with a trained therapist who can help you navigate your emotional needs can help you feel more in control. 

Subscribe to a remote tech service

Remote sensor technology, like HomeEXCEPT, is super helpful when supporting a loved one who’s aging at home.

When it comes to technology, the earlier you introduce it, the better. The best time to start using remote monitoring is the moment that you realize that aging is bringing new challenges like forgetfulness, lack of mobility, and changes in overall health and wellbeing. 

By monitoring engagement with key objects throughout the home (like the fridge, toilet, bed, medication pack, favourite living room chair, water dispenser, etc.) you can get a deeper understanding of behavioural patterns. 

Introducing monitoring earlier sets a caregiver up for the best possible outcomes: 

  • You know where help is needed most
  • You can set customized notifications about the things you worry about
  • You can see how behaviour is changing over time and adjust your care plan as needed
  • You have access to OBJECTIVE data and no longer have to rely on what your loved one tells you or only what you observe when you’re present
  • You can check-in remotely any time you like, giving everyone more peace of mind

Make an informed plan!

Knowledge is power. Take a good hard look at what is working and what isn’t. Spend time assessing what time and energy you can reasonably give and identify gaps. 

Consider your loved one's ability to engage in activities of daily living. If the plan is to continue to age at home for as long as possible, you need to have a solid understanding of what they are capable of doing on their own and what types of things they may need help with. 

Once you examine both sides - your own needs and resources AND your client or loved ones needs and resources - you’ll see how they overlap and where you may need to ask for additional support or hire help. 

Conclusion

Times are changing and so is the common approach to managing lifestyle as we age. More than ever, seniors want to age safely at home and it can be stressful for caregivers in many ways. 

Organizing a complete circle of care, including family, friends, and healthcare professionals helps to take some pressure off and leveraging technology keeps you informed so you can continue to promote a better quality of life for everyone.

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