Q. I’ve been caring for my elderly parents and have heard a lot about the stress that goes with family caregiving. I’m certainly feeling it. What’s the latest on the impact of stress on people like me and what can I do about it?
The latest stress study from caring.com reveals that personal relationships are taking a hit when it comes to family caregiving. Eighty percent of Baby Boomers caring for an aging parent say that it has put a strain on their marriage.
The Caring.com study of baby boomers also discovered:
• 46 percent of Baby Boomers stated that caregiving damaged their romantic relationships.
• 25 percent of divorced Baby Boomers said caregiving played a major role in their divorce.
• Baby Boomers who are working full-time, are providing financial assistance to aging parents, and/or have aging parents living with them are at the greatest risk of marital strain.
Why not check out how stress is affecting you by going to www.caregiverstress.com? At that site, you can rate your stress level and get tips on dealing with stress. Here are tips from Home Instead Senior Care:
• Work out. Exercise and enjoy something you like to do (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress-management exercise such as yoga or tai chi, which teach inner balance and relaxation.
• Meditate. Sit still and breathe deeply with your mind as “quiet” as possible whenever things feel like they are moving too quickly or you are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a caregiver.
• Ask for help. To avoid burnout and stress, you can enlist the help of other family members, friends, and/or consider hiring a professional non-medical caregiver for assistance.
• Take a break. Make arrangements for any necessary fill-in help (family, friends, volunteers or professional caregivers). Take single days or even a week vacation; just make sure you line up your support system so you can be confident that your loved one is safe and happy. And when you're away, stay away. Talk about different things, read that book you haven't been able to get to, etc. There is no excuse not to.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact Ceinwen Price at 877-733-5050 or visit www.homeinstead.com.
For more information about the survey, log on to http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/138069.php.