Providing care for someone and being responsible for their well-being can be physically, emotionally and financially demanding. So, it's no surprise that many caregivers experience stress. Some describe stress as burnout. Ellen L. Carbonell, LCSW, a clinical social worker at Rush, however, isn't fond of that term.
" 'Burnout' indicates that someone is done, and that they are too overwhelmed to continue," she says. "But by making some changes and getting help, caregiving and the stress that often goes with it can become more manageable."
How can you help a stressed out caregiver? Start by recognizing the signs of stress:
These symptoms could also signal depression, so stepping in and offering support is essential. If you or someone you know experiences more severe symptoms, like suicidal thoughts, call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 immediately.
Encourage caregivers to talk to someone about their worries, whether it's you, a friend, a clergy person or a therapist.
Conveying to caregivers that they shouldn't feel ashamed for needing help is also important, Carbonell says.
"Caregiving can have a significant impact on life. It can stress your career, your family, your friendships. It can also affect finances and lead to serious health problems," she says.
If you see signs of caregiver stress in someone, you can help in these ways:
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