Coping with Caregiver Frustration
Michigan caregivers who are a part of the sandwich generation juggle many roles. They often have children living at home, a full- or part-time career, and a senior loved one with a chronic illness for whom they provide care. For these caregivers, sandwiched between the generations, anxiety and stress are a part of daily life. It is a very frustrating situation to find yourself in.
As a caregiver, you should be aware of the warning signs that indicate you’ve reached the breaking point.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Warning Signs of Caregiver Burn Out
- Are you constantly feeling tired and worn out?
- Do you wake up feeling overwhelmed?
- Are you experiencing headaches, stomach cramps, insomnia or agitation?
- Do you feel angry or have a desire to strike out at people including the loved ones you care for? Are you losing patience easily?
- Are you feeling resentful of family members?
- Have you picked up new bad habits like smoking or drinking excessively?
- Are you losing touch with friends and hobbies you’ve always enjoyed?
- Do you take time to eat right and exercise?
- Are you forgetting to schedule or cancelling your own health screenings and appointments because you just don’t have time for them?
If more than a few of these warning signs sound all too familiar, it is time to take a break and ask for help.
Finding Support for Caregivers
If you are suffering from caregiver frustration or burn out, know that support is out there. Here are a few suggestions for you to explore:
- Join an online caregiver support group to be able to talk and share with peers experiencing your same frustrations and challenges.
- Utilize respite care through a home care agency or assisted living community to free up some “me time” in your schedule.
- Try meditation or yoga to help manage stress.
- Make time once a month to enjoy a fun night out with friends.
- Talk with your local Agency on Aging about the options for support that are available for your senior loved one.
If you are experiencing extreme symptoms such as shortness of breath or exhaustion, it is important to call your primary care physician. These symptoms might be a sign of something more serious.