We know more about caregiver stress these days, and the challenges that caregivers face on a daily basis. There are caregiver support groups and more information about respite care.
But while caregiving can be rewarding and fulfilling at times, it is also a very hard role for most, with seemingly never-ending days of fatigue, stress and other factors that can make caregiving a very difficult task.
Let’s look at five challenges caregivers face, and what they can do to help themselves:
Emotional and Mental Stress
Disabilities come in many forms, as does the stress they can cause.
Caring for someone with intellectual disabilities can cause enormous frustration for men and women who cannot always reason with their loved one, who cannot engage in meaningful conversation and are sometimes unfairly berated and abused by those they are caring for.
People who are physically impaired are often very frustrated by their inability to move well, to work or to leave the home. Many take it out on their caregivers for the simple reason that the caregiver is there to vent to.
These vents can be therapeutic when done in a positive way but they can also lead to verbal abuse of a caregiver and can add to the stress of caregiving itself. Leaving the building isn’t possible and the care has to continue.
Caregivers may need to leave the room, have a cup of tea in private and take 10-20 minutes to clear their minds and settle their nerves. Anger at their disabled loved one is natural because caregivers can feel so helpless -- due more to the disability and not the disabled person herself.
Walking away and taking time to calm down is imperative lest both tempers flare. Calling a good friend during the break is a great idea so that they have a sympathetic ear and someone to lean on.
Taking short breaks like this can make all the difference. Having somebody come over on their lunch hour or after they finish work can allow for breaks, fresh air and the chance to regroup.
People with physical disabilities have mobility issues.