Handling Stress
For Caregivers 101

By M. Chris Wolf, PH.D.

Handling stress is something that we all have to deal with in our lives. From driving in endless traffic to meeting work deadlines, stress is a part of everyday live. Finding out that your loved one has memory loss and you are now responsible for their care adds to stress that would be difficult for anyone to deal with at any given time in their life.

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There are many different support groups and people that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver.Many support groups will help you gain the confidence that you need to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle for yourself and your loved one. These groups can help you understand what you may have to deal with in the weeks, months and years to come with your loved one. Others will share their personal stories of success and failures so that you can learn from their mistakes and from their triumphs. These groups will also give you the opportunity to vent and talk about your frustrations instead of having to put on the brave face that you have probably been putting on for your loved one. You can talk about your fears and unpleasant thoughts that you may be feeling.

Talking to your loved one's doctors can also be a great way of handling stress. You can get the opportunity to ask them all of the questions that you may be thinking. Many times the doctors have heard it all before and understand your fear and frustration. They can give you a few simple guidelines to help your loved one and may even be able to give you a general idea of how your loved one's life may play out. The doctors can also recommend reading or groups to you that may be helpful and give you answers to questions that you may think of later down the road. Many times, they will also make themselves available if you want to ask questions in privacy so that you do not scare your loved one.

Caregivers can take comfort in the knowledge handling stress while taking care of a person with an illness does not have to be a nightmare. There are many different outlets and avenues that can help you deal with the stress and get through every single day. Support groups and talking to the doctors of your loved one can keep you from feeling helpless against the illness and make you feel like you are winning instead of failing.

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For more information about this topic consider these resources:

50 Plus One Tips for Handling Everyday Stress (50 Plus One) by Michael Carney and Heather Z. Hutchins

StressEraser Portable Biofeedback Device by StressEraser

emWave Personal Stress Reliever by HeartMath


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