Regardless of whether a caregiver is a family member, friend, or paid medical professional, the Alzheimer’s Association reminds us that caregivers can be deeply affected by a survivor’s recovery process. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 symptoms of caregiver stress:
- Denial – I know mom is going to get better.
- Anger – If he asks me that question one more time I’ll scream!
- Social Withdrawal – I don’t care about getting together with the neighbors.
- Anxiety – What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?
- Depression – I don’t care anymore.
- Exhaustion – I’m too tired for this.
- Sleeplessness – What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?
- Irritability – Leave me alone!
- Lack of concentration – I was so busy I forgot we had an appointment.
- Health problems – I cannot remember the last time I felt good.
Although the Alzheimer’s Association wrote the brochure for the caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, the symptoms clearly pertain to caregivers of any type of patient. If caregiver stress is a concern, please consult with a doctor, therapist, or a support group for help.
In spite of being a very optimistic person, I’m certain that I was stressed during the initial years of my battle with brain cancer and I added to the stress of my family, friends, social workers, and therapists. I can picture myself saying things such as:
- I don’t need your help. I’ll get better on my own.
- I told you before that I am tired and I’m not hungry.
- I don’t want to go to a restaurant or a movie theater. I don’t feel well.
- What happens if I die? What if I never work again? Perhaps I will never experience love again.
- I can’t talk anymore, I need to sleep.
- What happens if a die while I’m sleeping.
- I don’t feel like talking, walking, eating, or watching television. Just leave me alone!
- I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t even open a letter.
- I slept so much last week that I barely have the strength to move my arms or legs this week.
I apologize to my family, friends, social workers, and therapists for all the stress I caused.
If you are the survivor, what are you doing to reduce the stress of your caregivers? If you are a caregiver, what are you doing to reduce your stress? What discussion topics could reduce the stress of patients and caregivers?
Source: the Alzheimer’s Association provided information used in this post.