6 Stress Management Tips for Family Caregivers in Northern Michigan

Posted at Oct 07, 2014 | 115 Comments

Family Caregiver Stress


Dear Sandy:

I recently left my job to care for my grandmother full time. She has vascular dementia following a stroke she had a few years ago. While I love helping care for her, I’m finding it more difficult to manage the amount of stress caregiving creates for me. It isn’t that she is demanding or difficult. The stress comes from by trying to juggle all of her medical appointments, manage her medication schedule, make sure she is eating right, all while keeping a close eye on where she is all of the time. Her judgment is impaired since the stroke so we need to closely watch where she is and what she is doing.

Do you have any suggestions for managing stress? I don’t have time to go to the gym to workout anymore as I can’t leave her alone.

Stacey in Boyne City, Michigan

Dear Stacey:

Thanks for sharing your story with us! It sounds like you are experiencing the same struggles most caregivers do. Finding ways to manage caregiver stress early on is important. Caregivers who don’t develop good coping skills often end up experiencing a health crisis of their own. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:

  • Learn to practice yoga or meditation. Both can be done at home maybe when your grandmother is sleeping or taking a nap.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. It is one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy and strong.
  • Play soft, relaxing music throughout the day but especially when you are feeling stressed.
  • Get to know the options for respite care in northern Michigan. Make it a point to get out a few times a month to enjoy a movie or dinner with friends.
  • Take up journaling. It will help you find a healthy way to express your frustrations, fears and the other difficult emotions involved with caring for someone you love.
  • Join an online caregiver support group. You can find them on a variety of caregiving websites including The Family Caregiver Alliance.

I hope these ideas are of help to you, Stacey! I’m sending good thoughts to you and your grandmother as you both learn how to manage this new relationship.


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