Diana Holmes is the Caregiver Homes Branch Manager and Rene Snook is a Registered Nurse for the Attleboro/Taunton area in Mass.

A Caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need. The person receiving the care is usually elderly, disabled, or seriously ill. Caregivers help with grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking, managing finances, medication administration, bathing, dressing, toileting and eating. 

Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of caregiving and it can take many forms. There are four major areas that are affected by stress which include cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral. While reading this entry we ask that you take a moment to see if you have experienced these symptoms and at what frequency. 

Cognitive Symptoms include: 

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetting appointments or other important events
  • Pessimistic thoughts
  • Uncontrollable worrying or anxiety

Emotional Symptoms include: 

  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling alone and isolated
  • Depression or feeling gloomy about life
  • Experiencing moodiness or agitation
  • Trouble relaxing

Physical Symptoms include: 

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Long term medical problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis
  • Higher levels of stress hormones
  • Spend more days with an infectious disease
  • Higher levels of obesity

Behavioral Symptoms include: 

  • Changes in eating habits, eating more or less
  • Excessive sleeping or not sleeping enough
  • Avoiding others or isolating
  • Avoiding responsibilities or procrastinating
  • Using substances such as alcohol and drugs

 

To learn more about the signs and symptoms visit: http://www.helpguide.org

 

How services like Caregiver Homes can reduce caregiver stress 

Caregiver Homes can assist the Caregiver to recognize, reduce and even prevent Caregiver stress in numerous ways. Stress caused by financial strains, minimal time for self and feeling isolated can be alleviated by Caregiver Homes. Many Caregivers have had to leave their jobs to stay home and care for their family member which has caused a financial burden. The Caregiver Homes program can help ease some of those financial concerns by providing the Caregiver with a daily tax free stipend.

Caregiver stress can also be reduced by providing Caregivers with relief. Caregiver Homes provides the Caregiver with 15 non-medical leave of absence days and 14 days of Alternate Caregiver days per year. These breaks can provide the Caregiver time they need to care for themselves which is an important step toward reducing Caregiver stress.

Best of all, Caregiver Homes provides Caregivers with a team of professionals consisting of an experienced Care Manager and Registered Nurse also known as the care team that provides monthly home visits and daily contact through computerized notes. This team helps reduce the occurrence of Caregiver stress by providing the Caregiver with the support and resources needed. The Care Manager assists the Caregiver in finding resources, programs and supports in the community. The Nurse assesses the Client’s medical status and assists the Caregiver in managing the Client’s medical issues. The care team will makes referrals and recommendations as needed to guide the Caregiver through the often complex medical system. Through the daily note provided by the Caregiver, the care teams are updated on the Client’s status and are only a phone call away if needed. Lastly the care teams are there to listen, support and provide guidance to the Caregiver to assist them to provide the optimal level of care to their loved one thereby reducing Caregiver stress.

Managing stress as a caregiver can be challenging, however, the importance of this cannot be minimized as care for one self can create a strong foundation to care for others.