Being a family caregiver is a labor of love, but it’s not without challenges. In honor of National Family Caregivers month, Home Care Assistance of Vancouver wants to use this blog to highlight specific risk factors that impact caregiver stress.
Women are often asked to take on caregiving roles for unhealthy relatives due to social, cultural, and familial expectations. This is often in addition to existing caregiving roles for spouses, children, parents, and others as well as any work and professional obligations.
Less Formal Education
The higher the level of education, the easier it is to conduct substantive research on the healthcare needs of loved ones and for oneself, to identify and secure support resources, and constructively engage doctors, therapists, and pharmacists in problem-solving and the caregiving process.
Living with the Care Recipient
Being on-call 24/7 and not having the physical and mental space to regroup does not allow caregiver to effectively decompress or take the necessary time away from care responsibilities to meet their own care needs.
Caregiving is difficult in and of itself, but not having a support network to assist with providing care for a loved one or to provide caregivers with emotional and spiritual support increases stress levels substantively.
Providing care for a loved one while experiencing depression can easily exacerbate the symptoms of this condition. This can make it even more difficult to care for another and oneself.
Lacking Coping Skills and Difficulty Solving Problems
Caregiving requires a lot of patience and the ability to make difficult decisions, often on the fly. A lack of coping (i.e., knowing when to take a break, exercising, talking to friends, etc.) and problem solving skills can make even the most mundane tasks more difficult and increase stress levels.
Financial difficulty hampers a caregiver’s ability to provide effective care for a loved one and oneself. It can also create even greater stress as caregiving and professional work responsibilities are often in conflict with each other.
Not Having a Choice
Caregiving is physically, mentally, and spiritually demanding. When a caregiver feels forced by circumstance to serve as a caregiver—whether for financial, family dynamics, or other reasons—these demands can take a higher toll. Caregivers can feel “trapped” and even the most simple tasks can becoming overwhelming.
Being aware of these increased risk factors for caregiver stress is the first step towards being proactive in mitigating the harmful physical and mental side effects attributed to stress. If you’re the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, turn to Home Care Assistance for the support both of you need and deserve. Our respite care in Vancouver can provide you with much-needed time to unwind and tend to personal needs while ensuring your loved one is still receiving quality care in the comfort of home. Give us a call at (778) 279-3634 to learn more.