As you spend time caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you will quickly notice their abilities change as the disease progresses. It will reach the point where you will need some help from a full-time caregiver. Your elderly loved one will need assistance with daily tasks such as eating, using the toilet, bathing and dressing. Providing this level of care on a regular basis is overwhelming and exhausting for one person to do alone.
Some stress is normal and exists as a part of everyone’s life at some point or another. However, stress can reach harmful levels especially when it persists and there is no relief. The following stress checklist may help you see how you are doing in the area of stress.
- Is falling asleep a problem for you? Do you lie in bed very tired but not able to sleep?
- Are you often waking up in the middle of the night, at random times and for no apparent reason?
- Do you have nightmares or very fitful dreams that don’t allow you to rest adequately?
- How would you rate your personal health? Do you feel tired and out of energy most of the time?
- Have you either lost or gained weight lately without trying to?
- Have you noticed you are getting sick more often than usual?
- Are chronic health issues bothering you, such as headaches, backaches and so on?
- Does your situation make you feel hopeless?
- What kind and amount of pressure do you feel you place on yourself to make everything work and nothing fall apart?
- Do minor things upset you, make you cry or irritated more than normal?
- Does your temper seem to slip out of your control?
- Do you find your interest in once joyful activities has now waned or disappeared?
- How is your social life? Are you avoiding spending time with friends and other family members?
Carefully consider your answers to these questions. They are a good indication of your stress level. Make sure you take care of yourself first because if your health fails, you can’t take care of anyone. If you have answered yes to most of the questions, your stress levels are seriously high.
Do something today to get yourself into better mental and physical health. Get some help with your loved one so you can have some physical exercise daily; one of the best stress-busters out there. You need time to yourself as well as time for social activities. Take a swimming or yoga class and practice meditation. Make sure you are eating regular, nutritious meals. When was the last time you went on a vacation or got away just for the day?
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