It takes time and commitment to care for an aging parent or a loved one who
is now disabled due to a stroke
According to the American Stroke Association a stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a
leading cause of disability in the United States.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens,
part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.
Living with the effects of a stroke can be challenging
There are physical, communication and emotional challenges that affect our loved ones but they can also create challenges for caregivers as well. It takes a village to create the support group needed to assist someone after they’ve experienced a stroke. However, it also takes that same village to assist the primary caregiver and help them avoid the burnout that is so common when caring for a family member after a stroke.
It is common for caregivers to feel caregiving burnout because of their multiple roles and responsibilities including helping with activities of daily living, monitoring healthcare, communicating with health professionals, and family interactions.
Caregivers often feel physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion which can all have serious consequences
Because caregivers are giving so much of themselves to others, they barely make time for themselves. The role can be overwhelming. It seems like there’s so much to do in so little time. There are new worries and lots of juggling. Caregivers often fear making a medical mistake that may further harm a loved one.
The team effort of other family members, friends, and medical professionals such as speech therapists and occupational therapists can help caregivers deal with the time-consuming responsibilities needed to adequately address health concerns and daily needs without neglecting themselves. Anxiety and overwhelm affect their quality of sleep and sometimes their mental and physical health.
What does caregiving burnout look like? Here are just a few examples:
- Tired, exhausted, unable to sleep
- Constant worry or anxiety; the mind constantly works to track long “to do” lists
- Feeling hopeless or depressed that the situation will not improve
- Losing patience, being unkind to the care recipient and others
- Raising the voice or yelling because of feeling frustrated, angry, or agitated
- Feeling like there is never a break from caregiving, no “me” time
- Constant interruptions: phone calls, text messages etc.
- Isolation from friends, social activities, and hobbies
- Thoughts of suicide
If you are a caregiver who is experiencing burnout, you are not alone
There are caregiving support programs and forums that are positive outlets for you to release and share the stresses that you are experiencing. In addition to support groups, there are some small steps you can take every day to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
- Get regular, physical exercise
- Maintain a heart-healthy diet
- Break your routine and get out for fresh air
- Don’t skip your medical and dental appointments
- Work on positive thinking
- Keep humor in your life and laugh often
There are a vast number of resources that can help the primary caregiver maintain a healthy life while investing time and love in helping their loved one recover from a stroke. The support team should also utilize these resources to ensure everyone is healthy and avoiding burnout. Senior Services of Austin is a great local organization that provides resources. Visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website for more resources in your area.
At Wilco Wellness, we believe that health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being. It infuses positive energy into the body, mind, and spirit. The best journey is living to support a complete state of harmony.
Check out this little gem, Family Tips to Computer Apps for Speech delays with information on improving communication with a person experiencing speech and cognitive delays.
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