Caring for older people can be both rewarding and stressful, and for both parties. The workload negatively affects the carer’s well-being and the quality of care provided, and, therefore, the quality of the senior’s life. How can a senior reduce the stress of carers at work? How to deal with the stress at work of a caregiver? And how to mitigate the possibility of carers burnout? We answer these questions for the benefit of both seniors’ and their carers’ knowledge because only teamwork can make a difference in this area.
Stress in the life of a carer for the elderly
Senior care trips compound stress levels on various levels. One is separation from loved ones and being in a foreign country and having to speak a foreign language. Another source of stress can be the health of the mentee. Dementia, mood changes caused by illnesses, and worsening illnesses can cause caregivers stress. The caregiver for the elderly must keep a cool head, evaluate the situation and react accordingly. This is a big responsibility, but it is also quite a strain on the psyche. After all, the difficult relationship between the carer and the family of the mentee can be a source of additional stress.
The level of stress also largely depends on the personality of the carer. Those who are more empathetic and sensitive are particularly vulnerable to its negative effects, such as carers burnout. It is also worth practising assertiveness and communicating one’s needs clearly – these qualities will definitely help to reduce stress by limiting stressful situations.
Stress in the life of a senior citizen being cared for
Needless to say, it is not only caregivers who stress. Being cared for, especially at the beginning, also constitutes a source of stress for the senior citizen. A new person in the home, limitations of one’s own body, illness and dependency on another person are also very stressful for seniors. However, seniors are from a more comfortable position here, as they are dealing with professional carers who know how to reduce stress for their clients. Yet they are not always able to manage their own emotions. Therefore, you, as a family or the care recipient yourself, should try to help her with this, just as the carer helps you.
What is carers burnout?
Carers burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It occurs in people who provide long-term care for an elderly or chronically ill person. They are particularly vulnerable to it if they devote themselves unreservedly to their guests, giving up their own lives and taking on all the responsibilities of caring. Carers’ burnout can lead to psychological problems and physical abnormalities due to stress.
How do you deal with carers’ burnout?
Carers’ burnout cannot be underestimated, as it can end up causing serious physical and mental problems. Therefore, if you notice symptoms in yourself or your caregivers, such as changes in eating, sleep problems, nervousness, depression, irritability and a general decline in vitality, you need to take steps or refer them to this person. How do you deal with caregiver burnout?
The first step should be to take a day or several off and devote this time to do activities you enjoy. It is possible that a good night’s sleep, favourite food and activities will make the person feel full of energy. However, if this does not happen, a visit to a psychologist or psychotherapist is necessary.
What as a senior can you do to reduce stress for your carer?
As a care recipient, one often forgets that we are being cared for by a living person. This is a big mistake. Therefore, as a senior, if you want to take care of your caregiver’s well-being, start asking them how they are and keep up conversations on non-work-related topics.
Caregivers’ stress is often caused by frequent changes in the moods and physical state of their charges, so try to stay calm and in good spirits even in crises and do not take it out on your caregiver.
What else can you do to avoid carers burnout? First and foremost, take care of your carer’s free time. Due to the nature of the job, carers often have too little time off and undetermined exact working hours. However, this is necessary to maintain a good work-life balance, so, as a senior, set hours and days off and stick to them.
How to deal with stress at work as a carer for the elderly?
Here are some ways to deal with stress at work as a carer for the elderly that both the client and the carer should be aware of.
Ensure a fixed daily schedule
Establishing a fixed daily schedule when caring for a mentee makes it possible to plan both care and rest time effectively. Moreover, a fixed rhythm gives a feeling of control and stability – both for the mentee and the carer, which increases resilience to stress.
If your client is aggressive, refuses to eat and take medication or their mental state is deteriorating, you should talk to their family as soon as possible, and if you suspect the beginnings of carers burnout in yourself see a psychologist.
Do what you enjoy
Finding an activity that helps reduce stress is worthwhile. Keeping up such hobbies can be a great adventure. Therefore, when you feel that work is overwhelming you, start painting, knitting or cycling.