We want to be there when our loved ones need help. Perhaps that’s why there are currently nearly 48 million caregivers in the United States, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. But for all the reward caregiving offers, a tremendous amount of stress goes with it too. If left unchecked that stress can be detrimental to your own health.
Learn how boutique senior living can help you and your loved one by providing the extra support that you need.
The Facts About Caregiving
While it can certainly feel isolating to be a caregiver, you’re not alone in the challenges you face. In fact, the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP’s recently released report, Caregiving in the U.S. 2020, describes:
- 61 percent are women
- 34 percent are Boomers
- 89 percent provide care to a relative
- 40 percent live with the person they care for
- Provide care for 4.5 years on average
- 19 percent provide unpaid care
- Caregivers provide about 24 hours of care each week
- 23 percent say caregiving has made their health worse
- 45 percent have had a least one financial impact
- 61 percent have experienced at least one work-related impact
- 10 percent have had to give up work entirely
- Only 45 percent have their own future care plans in place
While you may know these facts all too well, the report clearly underscores that caregivers need support too as many of these factors put you at higher risk for caregiver stress.
Signs of Caregiver Stress
If you’re like most caregivers, you’re so busy taking care of your loved one, and other responsibilities, that you don’t realize your own physical and mental health are suffering.
Watch out for signs that include:
- Being overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Feeling tired often
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Gaining or losing weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, body pain or other physical problems
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
- Coping with Caregiver Stress
It’s vital to take care of yourself, if for no other reason than you’ll be able to better care for your loved one.
Coping with Caregiver Stress
It’s vital to take care of yourself, if for no other reason than you’ll be able to better care for your loved one. So, if you do experience the signs above you might want to consider:
- Finding a support group through the Family Caregivers Alliance’s Family Care Navigator
- Building a support network who can help with your loved one
- Keeping up with your own regular doctor visits (and talk about your stress)
- Making a point to eat better and get regular exercise
- Resting when you need it
- Scheduling time to spend with friends, family, and to pursue your own interests.
Perhaps even more importantly, give yourself a break and know when to ask for help. Realistically you can’t do it all, and shouldn’t have to, especially when there are options like boutique senior living that can offer tremendous benefits for both you and your loved one.
Physical Indicators of Stress
Stress is able to put a lot of pressure on us in unexpected ways. Many people experience symptoms that they would not consider stress-related at all, but actually are. It can show itself in every aspect of your life, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For some people, stress feels like constantly being sick. It can be headaches, an upset stomach, or even difficulty breathing. These traits can lead people to the doctor for all the wrong reasons. This is why it is important to take note of when these symptoms show up. Do you always flare up when you’re stressed? The two might be more connected than you think.
Mental Indicators of Stress
Stress doesn’t only have physical symptoms. In truth, many of them are mental. It can show up as a general feeling of emptiness, being overly responsive to external stimuli, or even memory loss. So many people fail to see how their stress is impacting them until they can take a break and suddenly feel much better. If you’re feeling a little slow, struggling to keep track of things, or are just mentally drained, these can all be caused by stress.
Emotional Indicators of Stress
Caregivers often don’t realize the emotional weight of caring for someone full-time. It can cause you to worry, make you wonder about the future, make you feel guilty for wanting free time, and more. It takes a lot to completely support another person, and many caregivers fail to get the support they need themselves. You might adore your loved one, but reshaping your life to care for them can be hard. It can leave you feeling worried and confused.
Why You Deserve Support
Caregivers do so much for those that they love, but oftentimes their own needs aren’t being met. You might be wondering if you should accept additional support. What does that look like for you? Many caregivers worry about displacing their emotions or needs on another person. Funny enough, the very people who give their all are often afraid to accept help for themselves.
The truth is that everyone needs help, especially caregivers. You deserve good times with friends and a day off. You are allowed to go out for a date night or take some time to pursue a hobby that you love. You are doing so much, which is why it is important to take time for yourself. Asking for help can make that possible, whether it is from family or an external support group like us.
Benefits of Boutique Senior Living
Often, one of the biggest reasons that caregivers take on this responsibility for their loved one is the hesitancy of moving to senior living. We get it! Traditional senior living communities can feel crowded and institutional—too much of a stark transition from home. But there is an alternative known as boutique senior living. It’s residential care that’s provided in a single-family home. We believe it blends the best of both worlds – the comfort of home with the quality care and amenities of traditional communities.
You don’t want to send your loved one away where they will not have their support team. With boutique senior living, every resident has a support team, and we don’t just mean our employees. We make it easy for our residents to have fun, whether it is bonding with one another over games, enjoying a walk around the property, or taking advantage of modern technology to check in back home. Even better, we are fully equipped to support visitors and have fun ways for you to pass the time!
In fact, our boutique senior living homes are specially crafted for assisted living or memory care with 10 to 16 residents max. Plus, we offer a nearly unheard of 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio that ensures your loved one has the personalized attention they deserve.
More Benefits of Residential Senior Care
The home environment feels comfortable and familiar from the décor to the layout and large yard to family-style meals on one of our signature homemade farm tables. Even the charming neighborhood location may feel similar to where your loved one lives now.
How do the amenities compare? Your loved one won’t want for anything with laundry and cleaning services, complimentary Wi-Fi, transportation and safety features such as fall alert pendants, state-of-the-art video monitoring and keypad entry/exit access. Even better, our activity programs include exercises, socialization, cognitive stimulation and immersive activities as well as outings and live entertainment. Our residents enjoy the time they spend with us. We make sure of it!
All this makes it a much easier transition for your loved one. Plus, it can ease your stress and give you the opportunity to enjoy life with them again as daughter, son, husband or wife instead of as a caregiver!
We help your family feel more connected and stress-free!
For more information on boutique senior living at Shepherd Premier or to schedule a virtual tour, call (224) 333-6247 to speak to a team member.