7 Signs Your Family Could Benefit From a Healthcare Provider In the Home : Whether you’re caring for an aging parent or an ailing spouse, there’s no denying that taking on the role of a caregiver can prove extremely demanding. As much as you care for your loved one, the emotional and physical strain can sometimes prove too much to bear.
In fact, one third of all caregivers report feeling “highly stressed.” In such situations, hiring a professional in-home healthcare provider could make all the difference for your family.
To learn more about the importance of in-home healthcare providers, I spoke with Jason Bliss, co-founder of Healthy Living Network, about the warning signs that caregivers should watch for that indicate they need help.
Here are seven signs that your family could use the assistance of an in-home healthcare provider:
You’re Losing Sleep
“Serving as a caregiver can be undeniably stressful,” Bliss explains.
“Unfortunately, when you don’t have a healthy outlet for that stress, you begin to experience a host of negative side effects. One of the most noticeable issues is when you start experiencing low-quality sleep — and it’s a vicious cycle. The less you sleep, the more stressed you’ll feel.”
Stress-related sleep troubles could be caused by a loved one’s frequent need for care, or your own worries about your situation. Poor sleep can further complicate matters by negatively affecting judgement and memory.
Your Own Health Is Declining
As stress levels rise, your body becomes less capable of fighting off illnesses — especially if you’re also suffering from poor sleep. Caregivers who are suffering from burnout tend to get sick more often. It may seem like you’re constantly fighting off a cold.
Worse still, this burnout can cause your own health conditions to worsen, or even contribute to new problems that limit your ability to provide adequate care.
You’ve Developed a Short Fuse
“When caregivers get burned out, they begin to experience a host of negative emotions,” Bliss says. “They become far more likely to feel depressed or irritable. In many cases, they may even feel resentful toward the person they are caring for. These harmful feelings can spill over in interactions with the person receiving care and other loved ones.”
It’s normal for caregivers to feel anxious, annoyed or even depressed from time to time. But if these feelings have become overwhelming and aren’t going away, it may be time to seek additional help.
You Can’t Take Care of Other Errands
Caring for a loved one can be extremely demanding — so much so that you may have trouble managing your other responsibilities. Whether you’re unable to go grocery shopping or the house is becoming a mess because you don’t have time for cleaning, these seemingly minor setbacks can build up to a serious problem over time.
Hiring a caregiver could ensure that you have enough time for other important responsibilities, which will ultimately create a safer and healthier home environment.
You No Longer Have Time For a Social Life
“Social isolation is a serious issue for many caregivers,” Bliss notes.
“When the demands of caregiving get overwhelming, you might find yourself turning down invitations to spend time with friends or family. But without the emotional support such interactions provide, you could actually put yourself at greater risk for significant mental and emotional struggles.”
Making time for friends or family is crucial for rejuvenating and relaxing.
Sometimes, simply being able to talk about your problems with someone else can be enough to relieve your burdens. Caregivers who struggle to find time for such positive outlets should consider additional help so they can get out of the house.
You Can’t Meet All Medical Needs
Caregiving requirements can be as diverse and unique as the individuals being cared for. Unfortunately, this can often create situations where a family member is unable to fully meet the needs of their loved one.
From administering medications and monitoring vital signs to providing assistance with eating or bathing, there are a wide range of tasks that can prove challenging for a person who hasn’t undergone specialized training. Enlisting the help of a healthcare provider will ensure that a loved one’s needs are met.
You Don’t Have Any Free Time
If you feel like you don’t have any time for yourself, it’s time to hire additional support. “It doesn’t necessarily matter what caregivers do, as long as they can find some time that is truly their own,” says Bliss.
“Caregivers need that time to get away from their day-to-day stress so they can recharge mentally, emotionally and physically. Whether that’s going on a weekend trip or participating in a favorite hobby, these extra activities can make a big difference for the caregiver’s wellbeing.”
Family caregivers need free time — moments devoid of their normal responsibilities — if they wish to avoid burnout. Even part-time assistance could make a significant difference by providing a little extra time to participate in fun or fulfilling activities that will provide a much-needed boost.
Life-altering medical conditions and disabilities become increasingly common as we age — but this doesn’t mean that family members’ lives should be completely disrupted as well. With the help of an in-home healthcare professional or any specialized medical care, you’ll be better able to live your life and manage the stresses of care-giving.
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