Emotional signs of senior caregiver stress
Updated: May 26
With the high demands of taking care of a senior, a great deal of stress is inevitable. Many family members take on the responsibility of caring for their aging parents, without the extensive stress management training professional caregivers undergo. An overload of caregiver stress can lead to a lower quality of care and risk of health and well-being for yourself and your loved one and should be addressed immediately.
However, professional caregivers aren't exempt from taxing demands and stress associated with the job, despite their valuable training. They to can become overwhelmed with the circumstances and emotions associated with the job.
Whether you or a caregiver is providing care for your aging parent, it's crucial to know the emotional signs of caregiver stress so proper changes can be made moving forward to provide your loved one with the quality care and dignified living they deserve.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are typical symptoms of caregiver stress. Symptoms include continuous sadness, increased amount of crying, and feelings of hopelessness. A caregiver suffering from depression and/or anxiety may feel anxious about their job, daily tasks, and may even have a hard time going to work each day. They may also feel the need to withdrawal, whether from their friends and family or activities they used to enjoy.
When caring for an elderly parent or patient, anger is one emotion that needs to be kept at bay. The daily tasks of caring for a senior can become incredibly frustrated at times. Professional caregivers are trained to handle their emotions and situations properly and away from the client. If you or your caregiver have been yelling at your loved ones and losing control of their temper, this is a clear sign of caregiver stress.
Furthermore, family members caring for an aging parent often experience anger because they're sacrificing their own needs to care for their loved one's needs. This is not a healthy situation for you or your aging parent, and it's strongly recommended to search for alternative care.
Exhaustion and Insomnia
One of the first things that seem to take the brunt of caregiver stress is one's sleep patterns. If you find yourself or your caregiver consistently tired, emotionally and physically, this could be a sign of caregiver stress. It's crucial to address this situation immediately, as insomnia and/or exhaustion on the job can lead to poor decision-making, and even life-threatening mistakes such as giving your loved one the wrong medications.
For someone experiencing caregiver stress, common colds and flu may become way more common than normal. A decreased immune system is a strong indicator that the daily tasks of caring for a loved one or a senior are causing too much stress.
What to do if you're experiencing signs of senior caregiver stress
Family members often feel obligated and sometimes even pressured to take care of their aging parents. However, if your health is being sacrificed, so is the health of your loved ones. If you're providing care for your loved one at this time and notice these emotional signs of caregiver stress within yourself, it's imperative to address the situation.
There are many senior caregiving options, from respite care to live-in senior residence stays, that can relieve you from the rigorous tasks of caring for your aging parent. Professional caregivers are trained to handle the stress that comes with the job, to ensure optimal care for the senior.
What to do if your current caregiver is showing signs of senior caregiver stress
If you have reason to believe your caregiver is showing emotional signs of caregiver stress, it's important to confront the issue immediately. A caregiver unable to handle the stress and daily task of senior care puts your loved one's health and quality living at risk. So, speak with your caregiver. See if there's anything in particular that's causing them to show these emotional signs of caregiver stress, and pay attention to their behavior moving forward. If you continue to suspect emotional signs of caregiver stress, it's likely within you and your loved one's best interest to opt for alternative senior care.
Everyday stress is normal and caregiver stress is inevitable. However, quality professionals are trained to handle the demanding requirements of providing senior care and the emotions that follow. So, put yourself at ease and opt for a reputable, dignified living for your aging parents.