A caregiver is defined as someone who cares for terminally ill patients, looks after the elderly, and the disabled. The caregiver burden on the other hand is the strain that the caregiver experience while performing the task. Some caregivers may perceive the objective tasks of caregiving as being rewarding, while others may perceive them to be quite stressful and negative. The accumulation of subjective stressors, such as negative feelings toward their role or feelings of guilt about not meeting the needs of their care receiver, produces a subjective burden on the caregiver.
Signs of caregiver stress
As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering. Watch for these signs of caregiver stress:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Feeling tired often
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Gaining or losing weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
Too much stress, especially over a long time, can harm your health. As a caregiver, you’re more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. In addition, you may not get enough sleep or physical activity, or eat a balanced diet — which increases your risk of medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
The caregiver burden has been largely overlooked by clinicians and in interventions. Informal caregivers have been called “the invisible patient” as they are often forgotten; physicians and clinicians may neglect to ask caregivers about their own mental and physical well-being throughout the disease course of the respective partner. The informal caregiver often takes on many duties, such as assisting with basic activities related to illness management like managing medication and treatment regimens, scheduling and accompanying the chronically ill individual to and from medical visits and checkups, and making treatment/management decisions. Depending on the type and severity of chronic illness, caregivers may take on an even more advanced role in assisting their partners by making meals, taking on household chores, running errands, and assisting them financially. Finally, on top of all of these responsibilities, the caregiver is often a primary source of emotional support and comfort for their partners.
Caregivers that experience high levels of burden tend to be less likely to engage in self-care, and may experience weight loss, anxiety, and sleep deprivation (particularly in caregivers of partners with dementia). In addition, caregivers often reduce their hours of employment to provide proper caregiving which can lead to further financial strain. Lastly, caregiver burden is a unique predictor of mortality risk and suicide
Tips to Help Nurses Manage Burden
On the off chance that you are moving into a caregiver job, or in the event that you’ve been feeling it for quite a while and you’re starting to feel the pressure, you might need to think about the following, regularly ignored advice. So beneath are tips that will help you adapt to the pressure that accompanies it.
- Deal with your own well-being.
There’s an explanation air explorers are told to put on their own breathing apparatuses prior to keeping an eye on a child: you are better ready to deal with others when your own state of being is secure. Eat well, regardless of whether that implies straightforward, simple to-plan dinners. Put aside an ideal opportunity to work out, maybe when the individual you’re really focusing on is dozing. Get satisfactory rest. Have the suggested screenings, shots, and registration. You’ll be better prepared to deal with pressure in case you’re fit and rested.
- Enroll others.
Hardly any individual can do it single-handedly. Ask relatives and dear companions to share the consideration. Indeed, even individuals who can’t give active consideration might have the option to take on assignments, for example, shopping for food, taking care of tabs, organizing clinical arrangements, or taking care of protection administrative work. In the event that you don’t have a gathering of loved ones to call upon, the site of the National Alliance for Caregiving can assist you with finding guardian benefits and pick among long-haul care alternatives. Interview with a geriatric consideration administrator or social specialist may assist you with recognizing nearby administrations—regardless of whether you need only somebody to assist with family unit tasks or an enlisted attendant to oversee medicine and different treatments.
- Breakaway once in a while.
In case you’re really focusing on somebody who needs steady consideration, there is no doubt that you will require help eventually. Simply saving a couple of moments for a stroll in the recreation center or a visit with a companion can improve things significantly. “We’ve discovered that we can fundamentally diminish pressure by giving the overseers smaller than expected rests—even 30-minute breaks periodically,” Dr. Mahoney says. Government lawmakers have additionally recognized that unpaid parental figures need incidental excursions. In 2006, the Lifespan Respite Care Act was passed to give help administrations to family parental figures. You can discover data on rest administrations accessible close to you.
- Make an emotionally supportive system for yourself.
Over the long run, providing care can cause significant damage. Regardless of whether you have help with genuine providing care, you’re probably going to require passionate help, as well. Numerous emergency clinics, medical care plans, and strict associations offer care groups for guardians. Care groups are a decent spot to vent your sentiments and offer thoughts to individuals who are confronting comparable circumstances. Dr. Mahoney has discovered that online care groups—which don’t expect vis-à-vis cooperation, travel, or organizing a substitute guardian—have been a decent option for certain individuals. In case you’re not happy with a gathering, a geriatric consideration administrator might have the option to offer the required help and point of view.
- Accept help.Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you, and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do. For instance, a friend may offer to take the person you care for on a walk a couple of times a week. Or a friend or family member may be able to run an errand, pick up your groceries or cook for you.
- Focus on what you are able to provide.It’s normal to feel guilty sometimes, but understand that no one is a “perfect” caregiver. Believe that you are doing the best you can and making the best decisions you can at any given time.
- Set realistic goals.Break large tasks into smaller steps that you can do one at a time. Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine. Begin to say no to requests that are draining, such as hosting holiday meals.
Interventions to Reduce Caregiver Burden
Reducing the negative effects of stress on caregivers has often been the target of caregiver interventions. The outcome variables of interest in these studies may differ, but the studies usually aim to increase positive affect, quality of life, or health and well-being; or to reduce stress, depression, or caregiver burden. Thus, reducing burden, itself, is not always the main or only goal of caregiver interventions, but the burden is often an important component included in evaluations of caregiver programs. Caregivers who are the most at risk for adverse outcomes, and who are thereby most in need of intervention, tend to be older females with little income or education who provide high levels of care, have low levels of social support, and feel they have no choice in taking on their role as a caregiver.
Interventions that aim to reduce burden in caregivers often include one or more of the following components. They may seek to reduce the needs or the behavior problems in the care receiver, or they may introduce respite care for the care receiver, thereby reducing the objective stress on the caregiver. They also may seek to target the caregivers themselves. Some interventions aim to increase caregivers’ knowledge of resources and appropriate care techniques (for example, by providing education about the availability of local services to education on how to bathe an uncooperative care receiver). Other caregiver-targeted interventions aim to provide individual (or group) support or therapy.
Psychotherapy can likewise be important. Giving consideration to a relative may trigger a large group of feelings, including insufficiency, lament, coerce, and even hatred. Guardians are likewise at an expanded danger of gloom. An advisor can help you work through such issues and creative ways of dealing with stress. On the off chance that you don’t have the foggiest idea where to go, ask your clinician for a reference.