10 Symptoms of Caregiver Stress

2016-0530 Caregiver Stress

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:

  1. Denial – I know mom is going to get better.
  2. Anger – If he asks me that question one more time I’ll scream!
  3. Social Withdrawal – I don’t care about getting together with the neighbors.
  4. Anxiety – What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?
  5. Depression – I don’t care anymore.
  6. Exhaustion – I’m too tired for this.
  7. Sleeplessness – What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?
  8. Irritability – Leave me alone!
  9. Lack of concentration – I was so busy I forgot we had an appointment.
  10. 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.

Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.


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.


  1. Great article. Any long-term illness, injury/recovery will impact the entire family. I have noticed it hits each in different ways. Besides counseling we enjoy family bowling nights or days.
    It is a time to laugh, have fun and just release as well as exercise too. This works for us and it truly is important because it can get stressful for all.
    I watched my Mom slowly pass away from cancer when I was young and we were all kids trying to maintain “normalcy.”. I can’t imagine the stress my Mom was under while she still remembered things.

    1. Meg, I have been a survivor for a very long time. Only recently I became a caregiver as well. This relationship is challenging at times. By the way, bowling is a very serious activity — I get seriously happy if my score is higher than 80. I broke a hundred once, but I think it was an accident rather than something that happened due to skill.

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