If you are a family caregiver, you are vulnerable to stress and or burnout from your efforts. As we navigate through caring for an elderly adult or a family member with chronic illness or disability, we are generally giving everything we have to the individual when we are with them. It is an emotional and a physical experience for you as a caregiver.

It is important to know what the signs and symptoms of stress and burnout are. Stress does have a few different levels, the extreme being chronic stress, which is the one that quickly leads to burn out. Stress and burn out are going to affect you mentally, physically and emotionally.

Common signs of stress are:

• Mood changes
• Difficulty sleeping
• Physical aches and pains
• Low energy
• Feeling anxious
• Diarrhea
• Heart racing
• More frequent illness

This list represents where it can all start. As a caregiver you are vulnerable and very susceptible to experiencing stress in some form at varying levels. Stress that goes untreated can lead to more serious behaviors, like overeating, and drinking, which can affect your blood pressure or lead to diabetes.

Common signs of burnout are:

• Exhaustion
• Loss of focus
• Lack of interest in things that you were previously interested in
• Depression
• Headaches
• Feeling worthless

Blood pressure changes and stomach troubles will also present themselves. Stress and burn out can present themselves in many forms, we all respond to this differently.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and suspect it is stress-related or burning out you need to immediately seek help to reduce the chance of harming your self or someone else. Contact a care manager to step in to look at the caregiving situation and work with you to create a plan of care that helps alleviate your stress and provides your family member with quality care options.

According to Very Well Mind (https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-health-3145086) “Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action. Everyone experiences stress to some degree. The way you respond to stress; however, makes a big difference to your overall well-being.”

There are many stressors involved in caregiving, from juggling the needs of your loved one, monitoring their declining health, or providing prolonged care without a break. They may not follow medication orders, use their walker, or refuse to eat, giving you push back on all levels. This can be stressful and overwhelming.

Professional Care Managers are available to step in and cover what needs to be done for your loved one. Our care managers help both the family and the person needing the care with resources for short-term solutions into long-term care. Let’s start with a care plan!