There is not question that acting as a caregiver to an aging parent or relative can cause a great deal of stress. The good news is that even if you are feeling these effects, you are not alone. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease control, at least 29% of caregivers have trouble managing emotional and physical stress.
Luckily, there are many available resources for caregivers of all types to help you to cope with the stress and other emotions that you may be feelings. Read on for more details.
Area Agency on Aging
If you're feeling the pressure of being a caregiver, get in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). These no-profit organizations are designed to provide free resources on aging to anyone who needs them. In Michigan along there are 16 agencies around the state. Visit mi-seniors.net for more information.
Local Support Groups
When you're in the midst of providing care for your loved one you might feel really alone. But the truth is that there are more than 34 million Americans facing the same issues as you. Look online or consult with your local AAA to find support groups that can put you in touch with other caregivers. Just talking to someone in a similar situation can be a huge stress reliever.
As the aging population explodes, there is an increased need for resources for both older adults and their family caregivers. No matter what health issues your loved one may be facing, there is likely a book, blog, or other publication by someone who has gone through what you're going through.
Whatever your stress level and commitment, always be sure to take time for yourself. You are your own best resource in the battle against caregiver-related stress. Recognize when you are feeling irritable, depressed, or just plain tired and take the time you need to recharge. Go to a movie, go out to dinner, or just take a long hot bath. You will never be able to provide great care if you aren't caring for yourself.
Senior Living Communities
It is not a personal failure if the stress of caring for your loved one is too much to bear. Don't discount the possibility of a safe, local, experienced senior living community to provide you with an alternative.
No one looks forward to making difficult choices for their parents or other aging relatives, but the truth is that as a caregiver your life is important, too. The healthy, happy community at VistaSprings can help your loved one to live a full and independent life while allowing the same for you.