Family Caregivers Need a Break! Steps and Resources to Reduce Caregiver Stress
Caring for a senior loved one can be very gratifying, but providing care every day, 24/7, can ultimately impact a family caregiver’s emotional and physical health. Family caregivers can reduce caregiver stress and prevent burnout by taking proactive steps. By tending to their health, reducing work overload, and finding much-needed assistance and support, caregivers can improve their quality of life and enhance the care they provide to their loved ones.
Factors that Impact a Family Caregiver’s Health
Limited rest and sleep
Providing 24/7 care without having a break or time to rest, compounded with nighttime sleep interruptions, can affect a family caregiver’s health and reduce their ability to provide quality care for a loved one. Not focusing on caregiving tasks due to sleep deprivation, added stress, frustrations, and physical strain can contribute to caregiver burnout, with adverse consequences for family caregivers and loved ones receiving their care.
Increased caregiving tasks and demands
With increased caregiving tasks and responsibilities, many family caregivers neglect their own health concerns. Extra duties without relief or a break can affect a family caregiver’s physical, emotional, and mental health. As caregiving tasks grow, as they sometimes do when caring for a loved one with multiple health conditions or Alzheimer’s, family caregivers may set aside their health issues to prioritize their loved ones.
Being away from friends and family for long periods can deepen feelings of loneliness and even symptoms of depression. Providing 24/7 care for an older spouse or parent not only limits a caregiver’s ability to participate in daily outings and group activities but also reduces opportunities for much-needed social interaction.
Steps to Reduce Family Caregiver Stress
- Ask for help! Never feel embarrassed or guilty about asking for help from other family members, friends, and professionals.
- Talk with your physician, and share your concerns if you constantly feel fatigued, have emotional outbursts, experience increased stress and anxiety, oversleep, or do not sleep enough.
- Be aware of your limitations when providing care for a senior loved one. You can’t do it all. Learn about your loved one’s illness to better prepare for their care and know what to expect.
- Join a family caregiver support group in your area.
- Don’t become isolated. Connect with family and friends.
- Take daily breaks, go for a short walk at a favorite nearby park, or take up a hobby.
- Consider employing daily or weekly respite care services. Trained caregivers can assist in providing care for a family loved one. Daily or weekly assistance, even for a few hours at a time, can give the family caregiver a break to rest, go to a doctor’s appointment, or attend a caregiver support group meeting.
Local Resources and Support Groups
Joining a support group provides family caregivers and care partners with a unique opportunity to meet other individuals who may be experiencing similar circumstances and realize that they are not alone. Support groups also offer ways for family caregivers to increase their social interaction and share their experiences with others also on caregiving journeys. Before signing up for or attending a support group, please review the guidelines outlined by the organization sponsoring the meetings.
- Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center (ADRC)
The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center (ADRC), a Central Florida nonprofit and community resource center, organizes and facilitates caregiver support groups. The ADRC also offers several workshops and training programs. To inquire about local support group programs, call (407) 436-7750 or visit https://adrccares.org/services/caregiver-support-groups/.
- Alzheimer’s Association (Central and North Florida Chapter)
To learn about the Alzheimer’s Association Central and North Florida Chapter, visit https://www.alz.org/cnfl or call (800) 272-3900. To find out about current support groups and events, visit https://www.alz.org/events.
- Cancer Support Community (Orlando Health Cancer Institute)
The Cancer Support Community at Orlando Health is a helpful resource for many area residents. To learn about current support group meetings, social connection events, and workshops, call the Cancer Support Community at (321) 841-5056 or visit https://www.orlandohealth.com/services-and-specialties/orlando-health-cancer-institute/patients-and-families/cancer-support-community/groups.
- Parkinson Outreach Center (AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute)
The AdventHealth Parkinson Outreach Center organizes local Parkinson’s support groups and programs. For information about current support groups, call (407) 303-5295. To learn more about other programs available at the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, visit https://www.adventhealthneuroinstitute.com/resources/support-groups-programs.
We hope this blog provides insight on ways to help reduce family caregiver stress, along with helpful information about local resources and caregiver support groups.
Should you or a family caregiver need in-home senior care services, please call Senior Helpers Orlando at (407) 628-4357.
As a leading in-home healthcare agency, Senior Helpers Orlando offers home healthcare services that range from companion care to specialized in-home care services for people with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. Whether a senior family member requires companion care, respite care, or 24/7 in-home care services, our Senior Helpers team is prepared to meet the home healthcare needs of your loved one.
Ana P. DeLane
Senior Helpers Orlando Team Member
References and Resources
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center, https://adrccares.org/.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center, Caregiver Support Groups, https://adrccares.org/services/caregiver-support-groups/.
Alzheimer’s Association (Central and North Florida Chapter), https://www.alz.org/cnfl.
Alzheimer’s Association, Events, https://www.alz.org/events.
The Cancer Support Community at Orlando Health, Orlando Health Cancer Institute, https://www.orlandohealth.com/services-and-specialties/orlando-health-cancer-institute/patients-and-families/cancer-support-community/groups.
Support Groups & Programs, AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, https://www.adventhealthneuroinstitute.com/resources/support-groups-programs.