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Aging Family Services - Handling Caregiver Stress

Handling Stress: taking care of the caretaker

By Cheryl Theriault

Caring for an ill or disabled parent can be particularly challenging while juggling the competing demands of work, family and caregiving. It is important to get the emotional and practical support you need to cope with the stress of being a caregiver.Taking care of yourself will help ensure that you are physically and emotionally able to care for your impaired parent.

  • Plan ahead

  • Take one day at a time.

  • Develop contingency plans.

  • Obtain up-to-date information.
    Aging Family Services can provide a variety of caregiver-related fact sheets and other materials to help you make informed decisions.

  • Ask for help.
    Don't try to do everything yourself. A sibling, relative or friend may be able to help you. Or, we can offer specialized care planning guidance to help you get through the "maze" of long-term care options.

  • Attend a support group.
    Caregivers face some uniquely challenging and emotional decisions and daily tasks. You may be able to benefit by sharing your experiences with others who are in a similar situation. The table below lists some support groups in Wake County.

  • Name Agency Phone#
    Alzheimer's Support Group Alzheimer's Association 919-832-3732
    Caregiver Support Group Resources for Seniors 919-872-7933
    Caring for Aging Parents St. Andrews Presbyterian Church 919-847-4047
    Center for Family Caregivers First Alliance Church 919-981-0908
    Caregiver Support Group Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church 919-467-6906
    Triangle Caregivers First Alliance Church 919-981-7483

    The Alzheimer's Association of Eastern North Carolina also has support groups listed on their website.

    Resources for Seniors also publishes a list of local support groups with contact names and numbers. That list is available in a PDF format so you can print it easily.

  • Be patient.
    There may be good days and bad days. Learn how to communicate effectively with your parent without laying blame. It will take some time to arrange services that address all needs.

  • Give yourself a break.
    Remember to schedule some time to relax. "Respite care" is designed to allow a break for the caregiver, and can last an hour, a day, or even a week.

Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress

  • Anger at elder, family, doctors, services
  • Withdrawal/feeling overwhelmed
  • Anxiety/constant worry
  • Depression/no pleasure in anything anymore
  • Exhaustion/sleeplessness
  • Worsening of chronic conditions
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration/disorganization
  • Change in appearance of caregiver or environment
Aging Family Services
4812 Six Forks Rd. Suite #110 Raleigh, NC 27609 ~ (919)-781-5979