Caregiver Stress - Running On Empty

Survey showed 91 percent feel irritable or anxious about the demands of caring for an aging loved one. So how do you fit that in to work, kids, marriage, activities and the rest of your life?

Survey & Web Data Show Dramatic Toll Of Stress On Those Who Care For Older Adults

She awakens in the morning still exhausted after a fitful night of sleep and immediately feels overwhelmed.  There’s the report due at work today that she’s not had time to prepare, afternoon soccer practice for her son and a school board meeting that night.  Then, somewhere in the brief free moments of her day, she must find time for her mother:  Eighty-four-year-old mom at home alone, who can’t drive anymore or reach into the cupboard to pull out a box of cereal or see well enough to take her correct dose of medication.  Today, like yesterday, there are no easy answers about how to fit her mom into the juggling act she calls a typical day.
This is the life of the family caregiver – who represents one in four Americans, according to various studies.  New evidence and interviews of family caregivers reveal a disturbing trend of debilitating stress that can accompany this role, even though most still say that, in spite of the challenges, the job comes with many rewards.
Statistics from a recent report prepared with information collected through Home Instead Senior Care Web site www.caregiverstress.com tell the story.  More than three-fourths (76 percent) of the 8,000 family caregivers who took the company’s stress test reported that their aging loved one’s needs are overwhelming.  Furthermore, 91 percent of family caregivers who completed the test said they have episodes of feeling anxious or irritable; 73 percent have disturbed sleep patterns; and 56 percent seem to become ill more frequently. 
Every day we encounter these family caregivers who love and want the best for their aging family members, but don’t know how to fit it all in.  Support is one of the key survival tools for the family caregiver.

Some local resources that can help family caregivers in the Niles, Skokie & Park Ridge areas are:

The North Shore Senior Center & Evanston Skokie Valley Senior Services:  www.nssc.org

Maine Township General Assistance Program: http://www.mainetownship.com/services/ga/

Family Service of Glencoe (for Glencoe residents): http://www.familyserviceofglencoe.org/

The Center of Concern: http://www.centerofconcern.org/contact.html

Visit here again soon for more information on caregiver stress, and more resources for dealing with it.

And thanks for reading...


Michael Melinger, Home Instead Senior Care

Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette - 847-673-1250

Niles, Park Ridge, Morton Grove, Des Plaines - 847-518-1400

Chicago - 773-463-3500



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kathlyn williams May 11, 2011 at 04:00 PM
The Niles Senior Center also hosts a caregiver support group as well. I know it is well attended and serves a lot of people.
Michael Melinger May 14, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Thanks Kathlyn. You bring up a good point. I will do an entry about local supports groups in the near future.


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