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MANAGING AFTER HOLIDAY CAREGIVER STRESS

What happens to a family caregiver who never stopped running during the holiday season handling their family’s responsibilities? The answer is easy-she breaks down with headaches, upper respiratory infections and stress. This is what happens to caregivers who are burned out from all the holiday activities.

“A certain amount of stress is normal-especially when providing consistent care-but when you feel you have nothing to give, you are suffering from caregiver burnout,” said Director of Operations Mary O’Connor at the Senior Helpers Oak Brook Office. “Caregiver burnout is a significant physical, mental and emotional fatigue you may be experiencing from providing long-term care.”

Here are a few steps you can take to help you avoid caregiver burnout.

  • Find ways to communicate - Everyone wants to know how your loved one is doing. It is too hard to email or phone people individually. Consider sending the message through such sites as CarvingBridge, PostHope or MyLifeLine.org.
  • Join a support group - There are numerous support groups available to you ranging from The Family Caregiver Alliance, to the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. Do look at the websites of the Alzheimer’s Association and CancerCare offering information on support groups.
  • Nurture the positive relationships in your life - Even though you are overwhelmed take time to talk with friends and close family members. Limit your interactions with negative people who will drag you down.
  • Take care of your own health - Establish a set routine and exercise a certain number of hours every week. Remember to eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Keep in touch with your doctor so he knows what is happening in your life.
  • Give yourself a break - You can’t keep going 24/7. Consider contacting Senior Helpers who can arrange for a Free Assessment for your loved one to determine how much care is necessary. Once you have that answer consider letting their professional caregivers take some of the burden off of you.

You may want to hire them for a few hours a day, a number of hours a week or full-time care. The caregivers can take your loved one for doctor’s appointments, do meal preparation, bathing, light house cleaning and any other services you may want for your loved one. A caregiver also provides companionship for your loved one and take them to see their friends.

For more information about arranging for a Free Assessment, call Senior Helpers at: 630-359-5775 or email Mary O’Connor at moconnor@seniorhelpers.com.

More information about Senior Helpers is available on their website: www.seniorhelpers.com/Elmhurst.