When we talk about caregiving, stress is always one of the most difficult challenges mentioned. Think about it: You're comfortable in your routine, finally got a handle on how to keep your kids in check and out of danger after years of struggling with setting the right boundaries and encouraging the right choices...and suddenly, you feel like you're back to square one, this time with your aging parents.
Oh, and your kids are still living under your roof and still fully capable of creating those all-too familiar feelings of sheer panic and worry when you think something is wrong. And they need new shoes, money for the mall, sports registration fees, and spending money -- but mom now has a new medication that costs $400 a month and she can't afford it. It's not difficult to imagine how the stress level of a caregiver can easily spiral out of control, so it's no surprise that caregiver stress always appears near the top of the list when the challenges of caregiving are discussed.
Ample resources for beating caregiver stress
Here's the good news: There are many enterprises, organizations and advocacy groups who are paying attention to the many stressors that impact caregivers, and they want to help. There are tons of excellent resources to help you learn to cope with your stress, feel less guilt, get more organized and accomplish more. Because you're busy juggling your caregiver duties, we know you don't have hours to search for helpful resources -- so we've done a little work for you and rounded up a few valuable articles, sites and other resources we've come across to help you recognize, identify and combat caregiver stress.
A dozen stress-busting resources for caregivers
1. About.com Alzheimer's/Dementia - 12 Stress Responses in Alzheimer's Caregivers - Many caregivers aren't even aware that they're experiencing stress. That's why this article from About.com's Alzheimer's/Dementia section is so helpful. Are you exhibiting any of the 12 stress responses listed here?
2. Ask Dr. Chill - Chicago Now - Another article offering insight into the mysteries of caregiver stress, Dr. Chill offers some real-world examples of how your thinking might be getting the better of you. Don't allow yourself to be weighed down with distorted thinking. Instead, become familiar with the ways your thought process could actually be hindering you - and find the solutions that work for you to move beyond those unnecessary negative thoughts.
3. Huffington Post - Mars vs. Venus - This article by Sherri Snelling, CEO of the Caregiving Club and author of A Cast of Caregivers, discusses the differences between men and women when it comes to coping with the stress of caregiving.
4. WebMD Stress Management Health Center - WebMD has a whole section dedicated to stress management, including an ample variety of articles and advice specifically related to caregivers.
5. CaregiverStress.com - A website dedicated in its entirety to helping caregivers combat stress, CaregiverStress.com is owned and operated by Home Instead Senior Care. A great place to visit if you're looking for expert advice.
6. AARP Caregiving Resource Center - AARP's Caregiving Resource Center provides all the tools, tips and information you need to manage your tasks efficiently, juggle work and caregiving, get answers from experts, and connect with other caregivers online.
7. PHA - Managing Caregiver Stress - The Pulmonary Hypertension Association has a section dedicated to caregivers caring for a loved one with this disease. This great resource covers coping with the diagnosis, adapting to the caregiving lifestyle, plenty of tips for taking care of yourself, and additional resources where you can get personalized help or find a caregiving mentor.
8. Caring Today - A great website with hundreds of articles written by caregiving experts on the many different aspects of stress caregivers experience, issues related to caring for loved ones with specific diagnoses, and other resources, Caring Today is a website associated with the Caring Today magazine you'll find in many healthcare providers' waiting rooms.
9. Today's Caregiver - Another excellent resource delving into the struggles of modern caregivers -- and the many enjoyable aspects of caregiving - Today's Caregiver is packed with tips, advice, channels related to specific conditions and issues, and much more.
10. CareNovate Mag - 18 Simple, Time-Saving, Stress-Busting Activities - CareNovate mag is a plethora of valuable resources for caregivers, but we wanted to specifically highlight a recent post with 18 stress-busting ideas for caregivers. After reading these 18 tips, be sure to sign up for CareNovate's newsletter and digital magazine. You won't be disappointed!
11. ShareCare - A great resource for fibromyalgia caregivers, ShareCare offers a ton of tips and advice for caregivers, including guidance from experts. This article provides some valuable tips for beating caregiver stress.
12. FriendshipCircle.org - 5 Ways to Beat Caregiver Burnout - This article is targeted to caregivers of children with disabilities, but shares a very refreshing and positive approach that's applicable to anyone in a caregiver role - whether you're caring for a grandchild, a grandparent, a child with a disability, or an aging loved one. Definitely worth a read!
There are many more resources on beating caregiver stress out there. This list is intended to give you a unique collection of resources from different perspectives to get you started, recognize if you're experiencing stress, overcome your negative thinking, and identify a few ways that work for you, your personality and your lifestyle to start beating the stressors that are weighing you down. What resources, advice or stress-busting activities do you use or recommend for caregivers? Share your ideas with our readers in the comments below, post them to our Facebook wall, tweet them to us @seniorhomes, or share them with us on Google+ -- use hashtag #carestresstips to join the conversation!
Image via Flickr by George Vnoucek
Post by Angela Stringfellow