Is elderly care help having it’s affect on you?

February, 2013

Providing care for elderly people can be a strain not only on the rest of your family but also on you. It’s important that when providing elderly care help for a loved one you also look after yourself!


The 2 major side effects of being carer are stress and depression; both of which make it harder to provide long term care for elderly relatives.


Stress – can be caused by the demands made on our energy and time as well as the expectations we place on ourselves. Stress is not always a negative as it can drive you to complete goals and tasks but if the scales tip, the the pressure increases and you may feel unable to cope. This in turn can put a strain on your caring duties. You can become more exhausted, tense and irritable which won’t help when trying to provide home care for elderly people.


The first steps to dealing with stress is to make sure you recognise the symptoms;

  • Mental symptoms can include anxiety, anger, depression, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, crying often, tiredness and difficulty concentrating

  • Physical symptoms can include chest pains, cramps, muscle spasms, chest pains, dizziness, restlessness, nervous twitches and breathlessness.

What to do? – If you’re at home and feeling tearful, angry or experiencing any of the other symptoms there are a number of things you can do to decrease your stress levels; these include:

  • Go out of the room – or right outside if you can – for at least five minutes. Take a deep breath and hold it for a count of three, then breathe out. Repeat again, until you feel more relaxed

  • Relax your muscles. Tense muscles are a physical sign that you are stressed. Training on relaxation techniques is often available locally. Your local healthy living centre or local library may have information about this as well as books or tapes about relaxation.

  • Don’t drink or smoke too much. Alcohol and cigarettes have harmful effects on your body, and make you more at risk of the physical effects of stress.

  • Caffeine can have similar effects on your body as stress, so watch your coffee intake.

  • Get active. Physical exercise is a simple way to relieve tension. Even a walk to the shops can help reduce your stress levels.

  • Try to pace yourself and tackle one thing at a time. Be realistic about what you expect of yourself. Learn to say “no” to other people, some of the time at least.

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