Barbara Fradkin – Hometown News
Q: I am a caregiver for my parents and sometimes I cry or yell over the smallest thing. What is wrong with me?
A: Being a caregiver to your parents is the hardest work in the world. Only someone who has done it or is doing it right now can really understand what you are going through. Plainly put, caregiver stress or “burnout” is due to the emotional and physical strain of caregiving.
According to the American Psychological Association, caregivers over 55 have a 23% higher level of stress hormones. This can elevate blood pressure and glucose levels, contributing to hypertension and diabetes. Immune responses may become depressed, resulting in greater vulnerability to disease.
Caregiver stress builds up over time. One day you might have a meltdown over something that used to be no big deal. Then you start thinking your responsibilities seem endless and the future is bleak. This is when you know you have reached your limit –and need help.
Preventing caregiver burnout is not one-size-fits-all. But there is one common denominator: getting additional support. Don’t feel embarrassed or guilty! Acknowledge your feelings and get help before things get out of hand.
Senior centers have daily activities, trips, meals and may have a nominal joining fee. For those needing Alzheimer’s/ dementia care, there are “adult daycare” centers. With COVID in retreat, many senior centers or adult day cares are reopening to expanded schedules.
Google “Respite care near me” and you’ll find it available from assisted living and memory care communities. You can also get respite help from a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or home health aide (HHA). Certain types of insurance may help cover costs.
There’s only so much of you to go around; for family, friends and your caregiving charge. Watch for the symptoms of caregiver burnout and call me at 321-751-6771 for information on local resources. You’ve heard it before: you must take care of yourself first, in order to help others.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com. Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.