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Caregiver's Tips: How to deal with stress

Caregivers are people who provide basic care, such as bathing and feeding, to others with chronic medical conditions. They may be trained health care professionals or family members of the patient. Caregiving can be highly stressful, especially if the patient suffers from dementia or has behavior problems. It is easy to feel helpless, frustrated and lonely. Some caregivers develop caregiver stress, a syndrome that leads to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.

Symptoms of caregiver stress include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Self-seclusion
  • Low energy level
  • Troubled sleep
  • Loss of interest in things that the caregiver previously loved
  • Feelings of depression, helplessness and desperation

How to relieve stress?

  • Accept help

    You are not alone. Accepting help from others can bring great relief and allow you some private time to relax and recharge your batteries. To prevent burnout, join a caregiver support group which can be a good source of information, encouragement and support.

  • Take care of yourself

    Caregivers need care, too. You must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Get enough sleep and maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes three times a week. Retain 15-20 minutes a day as your private time to temporarily put down your responsibilities, do something you love and be yourself again.

  • Assess your abilities

    Focus on what you can do, instead of what you cannot do. You do not need to be perfect or feel guilty for not providing the patient’s every need. Share the different responsibilities with others and look into support services to assist you.

Source: Quality HealthCare

Prudential Hong Kong Limited (A member of Prudential plc group)

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