It’s no secret, that caregiving can cause families a great deal of financial and emotional stress. In addition, the demands on their time and energy, caregivers often encounter barriers accessing resources their loved one needs, a healthcare system that is fragmented, and community support that may be less than adequate. Combine this with common factors such as: family disagreements about care, lack of advance planning, and sudden health crises. It’s no wonder that caregivers may feel frustrated, exhausted, guilty, and overwhelmed.
Care managers, who have often “walked the walk” of caregiving themselves, are familiar with the struggles families face. They know that caregiving has its rewards but also, can take a serious emotional and physical toll. Without frequent respite from relentless pressures and responsibilities, caregivers can wind up suffering from depression, anxiety, and physical illnesses. Care managers can set a positive tone by helping caregivers understand what to expect with their loved one, focus on the positives, and learn to accept a new reality.
If the aging person has dementia, for instance, care managers can educate family members on the stages of the disease, prepare them for the personality, and behavioral changes that will likely occur. When family members are uncertain about whether their loved one is safe at home or whether an assisted living or nursing facility is a better choice, care managers can evaluate the situation and present the options in an empathic, but objective manner that can relieve a family’s fears or regrets.
Suggestions for care managers to help caregivers become more resilient include the following:
- Focus families’ attention on solving problems collaboratively, avoid blaming, or criticizing each other
- Recommend self-care including healthy eating, exercise, adequate sleep, connections with supportive people, practicing stress management techniques, and carving out respite from caregiving responsibilities
- Encourage flexibility and a positive attitude
- Help the family look for ways to adjust their goals and expectations and enjoy simple pleasures with their loved one
Modeling resilience, and setting a positive tone for families can help them cope with inevitable setbacks and challenges and reframe their perspective on the situation.
At arrangeCARE we walk you step by step on how to deal with caregiver stress. If you would like to discuss your family’s needs under no pressure, please contact us at info@arrangeCARE.com or 850-894-6720 and we’ll be happy to help you.