Moving Your Parents to a Senior Living Community: Overcoming Caregiver Stress and Guilt
Published on June 7, 2019
As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, the need for senior caregivers has rapidly increased. According to the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), more than 8 million Canadians provide care to either a family member or friend. This includes assistance with daily chores and cooking, bathing and grooming, as well as medication administration.
Caregiving can be a very rewarding role; however, it can also be very stressful to take on. It’s common for caregivers to feel stress and guilt, which is why it is important to recognize the weight of this role and provide caregivers with the support they need. Here are some of the most common challenges caregivers face and how senior living and retirement communities can help.
What Are the Challenges of Being a Caregiver?
It’s natural for caregivers to become annoyed, frustrated, and exhausted after caring for someone all the time. It’s also common for caregivers to neglect their personal needs as they focus their attention solely on their loved ones in need. As a caregiver, these challenges can lead to increased stress and can start to affect your health. Some common caregiver challenges to consider include:
Time Management: Caregivers often find that they spend most of their time with those they care for, leading them to neglect their personal needs. Also, while caregiving, it can be difficult to find time for hobbies or vacations.
Lack of Privacy: Sharing a home with the person you care for can make it difficult to set boundaries and establish privacy. Constant interactions can make you feel overwhelmed and bombarded.
Financial Strain: Since family caregivers usually work for free, they can begin to feel a strain on their finances as caregiving takes time away from their careers. The longer you are a caregiver, the more financial strain you might feel. In fact, according to CARP, 1.6 million caregivers have taken time off work to provide care for their loved ones.
Without paying attention, it can be hard to notice when a caregiver is feeling stressed out. Some signs to look out for include the following:
Feeling constantly worried or overwhelmed
Sleeping too much or having insomnia
Drastic weight changes
Feeling easily irritated or angry
Losing interest in activities you once loved
Frequent headaches or body aches
Abusing substances like alcohol or drugs, including prescription medication
Where Does the Guilt Come from?
Being a caregiver comes with a lot of responsibility and it’s natural to feel guilty from time to time. The important thing to remember is that these feelings are normal. Some of the main reasons caregivers tend to feel guilty include:
Needing to leave the person you’re caring for to go back to your own “world”
Needing to work and being unable to be with them
Not having enough time for other family and friends
No time to relax and wind down
Feeling impatient for how they are changing
Not calling or visiting friends and family enough
Being unable to help as much as you’d like because of lack of education or experience
Overcoming Caregiver Stress
The good news is that there are ways to overcome caregiver stress. Feeling paralyzed during times of high stress is completely understandable; however, it is important to seek healing to restore your quality of life and improve your own wellbeing. Th following are some strategies for dealing with caregiver stress.
Accept Help from Loved Ones
Take some time to brainstorm things that could make you feel better. List some changes that would reduce your stress levels and don’t be afraid to accept help from those who offer it. Share your challenges with your loved ones and allow them to share the role, whether that be taking the person you care for on a walk a few times a week or running errands for you.
Set Realistic Goals
As you prepare for your week of caregiving, make your responsibilities more manageable by setting realistic goals. Break down your large tasks into smaller ones that you can tackle one at a time. Prioritize your duties and create a daily routine. Say no to additional requests that will drain your energy and make time for your needs.
Caregiving is best performed when the caregiver’s needs are met. You can find support by joining community classes, making time for personal hobbies, signing up for meal delivery, joining a group for validation and encouragement, or contacting a retirement community near you. Knowing you’re not alone can help you handle difficult situations and allow you to develop meaningful relationships in the process.
Get Help from V!VA Retirement Communities
Are you a caregiver that feels burdened by the difficulties of your role? Consider seeking help from a retirement community that provides the quality care your loved one needs. There are many benefits to senior living that take the stress off of yourself.
V!VA Retirement Communities offers more than just a comfortable place to live; we provide our Community Members with a safe, trustworthy environment where they can build friendships that stand the test of time. We also provide assisted living services that give our Community Members the freedom to socialize and enjoy life, while we take care of their chores, personal care, medication, and cooking. We care about our seniors and that is reflected in the care provided by our Team Members. Our Team is comprised of people who understand that care goes beyond providing quality services. We also offer a variety of programs that help seniors feel valued, productive, and healthy.
As one of the few strong and successful privately-owned and independent developers in the senior living field, we offer quality care so each of our Community Members have an easier transition! We have locations in Barrhaven, Mississauga, Pickering, Thornhill Woods, Ancaster, Carleton Place, Oakville, and Whitby.