Managing Caregiver Stress during COVID-19

As a caregiver, you may find yourself struggling to find a balance between your family member’s needs and your own. You may also have work and family obligations. Add to that the stress from trying to protect yourself and your senior loved one from the coronavirus. That is a lot to juggle at once. We get it. At the Little Nursing Home in Montclair. Care is what we do. So here is some advice to help you feel less stressed.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, an increasing number of caregivers find themselves feeling burned out. These 5 frequent symptoms may indicate you may need a break. Any of these can result in a health crisis and because the symptoms may occur gradually, it is easy to overlook them.

  1. Sleeping too much or too little
  2. Persistent stomach or digestive issues
  3. Anxiety that impairs daily activities
  4. Easily tearful or quick to anger
  5. Loss of interest in socializing

If you have more than a few of these symptoms, it may be time for professional advice. In the meantime, try these suggestions for managing the stressors associated with caregiving.

Meditate

There is real science behind meditation. Studies show that meditating helps to manage the stress and anxiety that is part of most caregiver’s lives. Even pausing to meditate 10 minutes at the start of the day or during your lunch break can help you maintain better health. Don’t know where to start? There are various apps to help you. “Headspace” is an excellent mediation app.

Exercise

Making time for exercise when you are a caregiver might not seem achievable. But exercise improves your energy level and helps you sleep better. So you have to do it. You can start by breaking your daily exercise into 10- or 15-minute blocks. This will still give you the same health benefits as 30 minutes of continuous exercise. For example, practice 15 minutes of yoga in the morning and in the evening take a 15-minute walk. A great resource for at-home workouts is Liveexercise.com. They offer a free trial and have thousands of at-home workouts. With or without equipment.

Eat well

Following a healthy diet takes more time than relying on convenience foods or fast food. For busy caregivers, time is something that is frequently in short supply. Luckily there are apps that can make it easier for you. Test out home-delivered meal services, such as Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, or Freshly. Another alternative is to utilize a home-delivery grocery service, like Shipt or Instacart. These will save you time while also ensuring that your refrigerator stays stocked with fresh, healthy foods.

 

Sometimes caregiver burnout is the result of a loved one needing more care than a family can provide at home. An assisted living facility might be a solution to consider. COVID-19 concerns limit visitors to our home but virtual tours allow families to learn more. If you are considering a nursing home or assisted living for a loved one in northern NJ, The Little Nursing Home of Montclair offers a cozy and calm atmosphere with the comforts of home. We are family-owned for over 60 years and run by experienced registered nurses. Call or email us for more info or to schedule a tour.

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