Stressors Harm Your Health; Body, Memory, Emotions and Spirit

Stressors can be minimized when caring for an elder adultStressors and worry weigh upon all of us, especially primary caregivers. Health has to be guarded and supported. Sure there is good stress which gets us motivated, our competitive juices flowing to get the job done but other than that, stress wears on our physical and emotional well-being. Being a family caregiver tends to be a 24/7, year round commitment with little relief. There may be more than one reason why a parent can take care of several children but those grown up children cannot care for a parent. Whether due to a Cognitive Disorder (Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia) or a Physical Disability (Parkinson, weakness, MS, Stroke), caring for an adult is often very difficult and produces a lot of stress as they are full grown up beings with a history of accomplishment. They weigh a lot more than children and what is cuter than a baby or child? Stress weakens our immune system and  affects our overall health; organs – the heart, our minds – memory and confusion and spirit by demoralizing even the most heroic efforts. Whether an aging spouse or a busy son/daughter who works and has children of their own, there are ways to maximize care and minimize the stresses of being a family caregiver.

Gauge Your Own Level of Stress

Do you take time just for yourself daily?

Do you enjoy what you are doing?

Are you often tired or feel fatigued?

Do you skip meals or eat a healthy diet?

Do you have someone to “unburden” to and share your feelings?

Do you get annoyed easily and find you have little patience?

Do you find that you are disorganized and “losing” things?

Do you have support from somewhere so you can take a day off?

Have you lost or gained weight unintentionally – affects health?

Actions to Take to Reduce Stressors and Improve Health

Call a family conference to find a schedule whereby others can cover a few hours or a day for you – highlighting your health needs.

Discuss your stress and needs with family. Your Sons & daughters don’t need both parents in need of care.

Review your Long Term Care Insurance Policy.

Consider a Senior Program or Dementia Day Care

Hire a caregiver to give you a break.

Join a Caregiver Support Group and the Organization of the Disease you are managing.

Get individual counseling (Medicare will cover even in the home)

Explore Senior Residences such as Memory Care and Assisted Living.

Check with Religious Organizations for Volunteer sitters or companions

Decide that you will take time for yourself, if the person can stay alone safely.

Consider getting an Emergency Response Button for your loved one and in house cameras.


Health is most important.  Remember, stress, especially Caregiver Stress will win unless you TAKE TIME TO RECHARGE – REGULARLY!