7 Strategies to Cope With Anxiety for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)
Recent reports indicate that approximately 20 million people in the United States are struggling with anxiety and depression due to various reasons.
And as a caregiver, you stand a higher risk of struggling with anxiety than the ordinary person. This is because of the emotional and physical strength they utilize to give proper care to their loved ones. Hence, there is a great need to help caregivers cope with anxiety as they take care of seniors.
Providing round-the-clock care to an older person who depends on you for almost everything can be strenuous, even for the strongest person. As a caregiver, you may gradually develop anxiety resulting in anger outbursts, sadness, isolation, and exhaustion.
Caregivers’ anxiety and depression has become a silent health crisis, with reports stating that over twenty percent of caregivers are struggling with anxiety.
What are the Leading Causes of Anxiety for Caregivers?
The caregivers are tasked with many responsibilities to ensure that their loved ones, including the seniors, are comfortable with life. Besides, caregivers spend most of their time and energy offering care which may deprive them of enough sleep and time to do the things they love most in their personal lives.
At times, the caregivers may feel out of control, feelings of fear concerning their loved one’s physical well-being, and other financial strains. These emotions may eventually result in anxiety, which, if not care for in good time, may gradually develop into depression.
A caregiver’s shift in roles and emotions is bound to happen, leading to anger, frustration, exhaustion, sadness, and loneliness. Fortunately, our team has developed strategies to cope with anxiety for caregivers to help them lead mentally and physically stable lives.
Common Causes of the Seniors’ Increased Anxiety
America Association for Geriatric Psychiatry shows that 10-20% of older adults suffer from anxiety, which can adversely affect their lifestyle. However, there are various ways to help cope with the condition.
The most common causes are:
• Frequent worries about being reliant on others
• High cost of medical costs
• Severe side effects from medications
• Separation and loneliness
• Limited mobility
• Chronic health conditions such as arthritis pain and diabetes
What Are The Signs of Anxiety in Caregivers and Seniors?
Anxiety signs may vary from one person to another. Typically, the following are the behavioral and mental signs of anxiety:
• Overwhelming feelings of panic and fear
• Compulsive thoughts or beliefs
• Responses that are disproportional to the triggering fear
• Frequent feelings of agitation
• Loss of focus due to troubled memory
• Sleeping disorders (too much sleep or deprived sleep)
• Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Frequent bouts of fatigue
• Changes in weight (gain or loss)
• Alcohol or drug abuse, including prescriptions misuse
Most caregivers and the elderly suffering from anxiety may exhibit the following physical signs:
• Shortness of breath
• Fast heartbeats
• Hot flashes
• Constant headaches
• Dry mouth
• Frequent urination
• Extreme sweating
• Cold or sweaty hands
What are the Strategies to Cope with Anxiety for Caregivers and their Seniors?
Anxiety is considered challenging when it hampers your daily activities and eventually affects your health.
At Community Home Health Care, we advocate for mentally and physically stable caregivers and seniors as we strive to help them lead quality and enjoyable life.
We understand that the emotional and physical burdens that come with caregiving can consume a considerable energy even on the strongest person.
Our team has, therefore, prepared 7 strategies to cope with anxiety for caregivers as follows:
#1. Admit that you need help and ask for it
Caregiving can result in burnout, especially if you carry out your responsibilities alone. It would be best never to think you are imposing yourself on others when you ask for help.
It would help if you came up with a list of the needs that others can step in and lend a hand. You can start with relatives, close friends, or neighbors. Someone can choose to help you walk the senior or loved one around, help take care of your young children or family if you have one, and to run up your errands when you have limited time to do them yourself.
Besides, consider hiring in-house help to lend a hand when you feel overwhelmed. You can also arrange a day-care facility for the seniors and enjoy some free time away from caregiving responsibilities.
If you have anxiety, feel free to talk with your local physician. They can determine whether you need medication or refer you to a counselor for some therapy sessions.
#2. Give attention to what you are able to deliver
As a caregiver, you must understand that “no one is a perfect.” While its normal o suffer from guilt, you need to believe that you are offering the best services or decisions to the senior or loved one.
#3. Attend a Local Support Group
Most support groups provide a serene environment for caregivers to share their emotions and fears. The support groups offer emotional and moral support, and you get to meet other people who are also experiencing similar caregiving challenges.
Additionally, by joining a support group, you can acquire new coping strategies or skills to overcome your anxiety trigger as a caregiver as you create new friendships with people who understand what you are going through.
#4. Have personal realistic goals and pace yourself
Prioritize your tasks and do one thing at a time. Come up with a daily routine list, and don’t focus so much on activities that can drain your energy early in the day. You can give more attention to the tasks that must be done daily and plan other tasks when you have the time and energy to do them.
Setting realistic goals allows you to accomplish more tasks within a specified time frame and free yourself from burnout and emotional outbursts.
#5. Seek Respite Care
Respite care plays a significant role in providing short-term relief for caregivers. This helps them to have time off from their demanding duties and focus on their personal lives. The care can take place around your home, a day-care facility, or facilities that offer overnight stays.
#6. Have Personal Health Objectives
Due to the demanding nature of a caregiver’s job, you can set some health goals to boost your mental and physical health. You can create a sleep routine, time for exercises or walks, and a healthy diet.
#7. Stay connected
Working round-the-clock as a caregiver can lead to an isolated kind of life. You need to lookout for caregiver resources within your locality to enlighten yourself more about caregiving services.
Further, it would help if you remained connected with your family members, friends, and close people who can provide frequent emotional support when you feel overwhelmed.
Key Take away:
Anxiety can impact your life as a caregiver, which may aggravate and require medical attention. Many caregivers experience anxiety disorders caused by exhaustion and emotional outbursts.
While you cannot watch your loved ones or the elderly suffer, you can use the above strategies to cope with anxiety and live a balanced life. This will, in return, give you the strength to offer better care to your loved ones.
Remember, if you don’t take good care of yourself, you will not effectively provide care to someone else.
For more information about caregivers’ anxiety and depression, you can find numerous resources on our website.
You can also get in touch with us today and learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families like yours. Call us at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.
Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.