Caregiving can be a rewarding journey, but dealing with the demands can be challenging. As a caregiver, you can experience stress in your role when you find it difficult to perform your role optimally, or find yourself stressed by situations.
Prolonged caregiver stress can lead to problems with your physical and emotional wellbeing. Chronic stress releases stress hormones that lead to exhaustion, irritability, a weakened immune system, sleep disturbances, digestive distress, headaches, and changes in weight.
Factors that can contribute to caregiver burnout are:
Many caregivers are often thrust into the role of caring, disrupting the other roles or commitments that you have such as caring for younger children, or working. It can also be confusing to distinguish your role as a caregiver from being a spouse, child, relative, or friend to your loved one.
It is common for caregivers to feel uncertain about the progression of the disease, your ability to address the care needs at different points of the care journey, the options for treatment or support available, and financial choices and concessions. These lead to frustration and a sense of helplessness.
Even with modern medicine, not all diseases are reversible. Your loved one may find it harder to recover to the state that they were in before they fell sick. When the condition of your loved one deteriorates, you may find it hard to accept or blame yourself for not doing enough. You may expect yourself to bear the sole responsibility of caring and feel stressed when you are unable to manage the demand.
Let’s check your stress level. There is no right or wrong answer. Please tick the response that best applies to you and add up the points.
If you answered “yes” to the above statements, you are likely to be feeling more stressed than usual. Should these feelings persist, seek advice from your family doctor or professionals involved in the care of your care recipient.
Call Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) at 1800-221-4444 (24hrs) if you are thinking of suicide or harming yourself. If you know of someone who is in immediate harm, call Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) at 995.
You are not alone in your caregiving journey. Here are some general tips to help you cope:
Here are more tips to better care for yourself.
The importance of self-care for caregivers
Read stories and get tips from other caregivers
Respite care and self-care options
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