Caregiving, being a difficult task, causes stress to people who provide care whether it as a job or as a family member or loved one. This kind of stress is referred to as caregiver stress or caregiver burden. Caregivers usually try to do everything by themselves thinking that they are providing the best care they can while forgetting about their own well-being in return. It is any physical, psychological or emotional strain experienced by a care provider and is caused by a lot of reasons.
In most cases, professional caregivers assist people who are not even related to them. Other caregivers take care of their own family members who don't even know them anymore, like people who have Alzheimer's or Dementia. This then makes it hard for loved ones to think of the care recipient the same way as they did before when the patient was still well and healthy. Behavioral problems that cause patients to yell, curse and hit or incapacity to follow simple instructions or communicate, are some reasons why caregivers feel frustrated or anxious. Having to deal with this situation everyday makes them feel stressed out not to mention the physical exhaustion or lack of sleep.
According to research, the degree of caregiver stress is influenced by a lot of factors. One study points out that angry and frustrated caregivers carry more stress than those care providers who don't express anger. Those who have provided care before also show less burden than those who are first-time caregivers.
The attitudes of caregivers also contribute to the amount of stress that they get. One research showed that carers who attribute the behavioral problems of care recipients to medical conditions are less stressed than carers who believe that these negative behaviors are done intentionally. Consequently, care providers who believe that their patients are demanding have higher stress levels than those who don't.
There are so many signs indicating caregiver stress. It can be physical exhaustion, feelings of loneliness, mood swings, anger towards the care recipient or the feeling of having no time for one's self. Caregiver burden can also be indicated by the loss of interest in doing things that you love or simply by seeing friends and family less often. It can also be signaled by sleeping and eating problems or low energy to the point that you don't want to get out of bed in the morning.
There are a lot of ways to prevent yourself from getting stressed out because of caregiving. The first step is to believe that it is a rewarding experience. It is hard but it is worthwhile to know that you are making someone else's life easier. After all, caregiving is not only a job but also a vocation.