Often times when people think about the strains of being a caregiver to a loved one with Parkinson’s they think of the physicality of taking care of someone with a disability. While they are not wrong in thinking of the physical nature and responsibilities of a caregiver, caregivers are also strained emotionally — after all, this is their loved one they have to see mentally and physically degrade. While all caregivers may feel the emotional stresses and strains of being a caregiver, Parkinson’s care providers (and other dementia caregivers) are known to see the highest levels of strain.
As populations age, it becomes more and more common for adults to become informal caregivers to their loved one, with one in three adults in the United States providing care to their spouse or elderly parent. This statistic might seem alarming, and that is understandable, as most people in the United States that are informal caregivers don't assume or identify with the tile because after all, it is their family member. While it is understandable that one would not want to identify as a caregiver because it connotes a formality in the care of their loved one, it is important to accept the title — because once you have — you can better brace yourself to avoid emotional traumas.
Caregiving Can Be Rewarding & Stressful
Caregiving can be incredibly difficult, but when you are taking care of someone that you love it can be an extremely rewarding experience. As a caregiver to a loved one, it is likely less out of a feeling of obligation that you are helping care for your loved one, and more of a core familial value that drives you to be there.
While it may begin as a selfless act of support and love for your loved one, often times a caregiver’s emotions will shift at some point. As time progresses and duties pile up, it is often reported by informal caregivers that they begin to feel angry, frustrated, alone, confused or simply exhausted as a result of the trials of day-to-day activities.
Some of the risk factors associated with developing the aforementioned feelings include:
- Studies show that females are at a higher risk
- Social isolation outside of providing care
- Spending more time providing care than not
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Financial issues
- Lacking in coping skills
- Not having the choice to be a caregiver or not
How Do You Know If You Are Experiencing Caregiver Stress?
While simply understanding if you are stressed seems as if it would be an easy task, it is not quite that simple. In fact, being a caregiver to your loved one with Parkinson's can distract you from realizing that even stressed in the first place. Often times this is caused by the Parkinson’s care provider’s hyper-focus on their loved one, or the caregiver's inability to self-reflect. If you or a loved one are a Parkinson’s care provider to a loved one, it is important to watch out for the following signs that indicate caregiver stress.
- Constantly being worried or overwhelmed
- Constantly being tired or feeling lethargic
- Lack of, or lack of quality, sleep
- Extreme weight gain or weight loss
- Unstable moods: easily irritated
- Losing interest in past hobbies
- Manifestation of physical pain: headache, bodily pains, or any other physical issues
- Alcohol and drug abuse
For anyone, particularly Parkinson’s care providers, too much stress can become harmful to your emotional health.
What Are Some Caregiver Stress Management Strategies?
Due to the various emotional and physical strains that are currently associated with being a caregiver, it is important to seek out help — regardless of how resilient of a person that you see yourself to be. Below, HomeCARE Furniture by ComforTek has compiled a list of resources or tools that can potentially help you, as a Parkinson’s care provider, to avoid the stresses and emotional strains that are associated with caregiving.
Accept that you need/might need help: The number one way to avoid becoming stressed or emotionally strained is to prepare a list of the things/activities that you need the most help with and to distribute them to others around you. If even one-quarter of your duties are fulfilled by others, the chance of becoming stressed or strained is significantly reduced.
Focus on what you are able to provide: As a caregiver, it is your job to provide a reasonable amount of care that does not result in the degradation of your physical or mental health. If you cannot provide as much help as your loved one needs, it is time to outsource some of the other care to other family members and friends or professional services.
Utilize as many tools as possible: Lastly, it is important to utilize tools that can make your job as a Parkinson's care provider easier. Tools like bed supports, railings, mobility chairs and more are designed specifically to protect both the caregiver and their loved one while completing day-to-day tasks.
HomeCARE Furniture By ComforTek: A Provider Of Mobility Chairs
Here at HomeCARE Furniture by ComforTek, we create homecare furniture that makes day-to-day activities between caregivers and their loved ones suffering from forms of dementia easier, and more enjoyable. We offer a variety of mobility assist chairs with a number of features. Our mobility chairs offer a number of features that can make home care easier including locking swivel seating, non-marring floor casters, and mobility assist levers, allowing you to scoot your family member into the table with ease.
Our homecare furniture company understands the difficulties associated with sitting your loved one down, standing them up, and moving the chair once they are in it. Because of this, we have created chairs that eliminate the need for physical strain during mealtime. So what are you waiting for? Check out our mobility chairs and start enjoying mealtime again.
We hope that today’s blog post proves to be a valuable resource to Parkinson's care providers who are suffering from, or susceptible to, caregiver stress and strain. If you have any questions about our products, or how they might be able to help you, we urge you to contact us today.