As a PCS caregiver, you’re in charge of someone else’s livelihood. While this job can be rewarding, there are certainly challenges that come with it. Over time, some caregivers can become subject to caregiver role strain. We’ll cover what this is, signs that come with this issue, causes, and ways to prevent it from happening.
As a caregiver, it’s just as critical to take care of yourself as it is for your patient. Let’s learn about caregiver role strain, so you can perform your job well and keep yourself healthy.
What is Caregiver Role Strain?
So, what is caregiver role strain? This issue is when a caregiver feels overwhelmed and as if they can’t take care of their assigned person to the best of their ability. Usually, they spiral into anxiousness or stress. If not kept in check, caregiver role strain can seriously impact the life of a caregiver.
Caregiver role strain can happen to many types of caregivers. It can happen to:
● Traveling caregivers
● Hospital caregivers
Caregiver role strain often springs up after a transition.
Most often, younger caregivers are susceptible to this strain. It can occur when a young person suddenly becomes the caregiver of a loved one. The change in dynamic can seriously alter the mental health of an individual.
To take care of and address caregiver role strain, you first need to know what to look for in a person or yourself. There are a few signs that appear in a person experiencing this issue. Let’s go over these to give you a better idea of what it might look like in real life.
Signs of Caregiver Role Strain
Caregiver role strains, like other illnesses, if accompanied by symptoms. Not everybody has these symptoms, but many with this issue will experience at least one of them. There are a few reasons why these signs may appear. It’s vital to address them if you’re in a caregiving environment.
Some of the most prominent signs of caregiver role strain include:
● Insomnia or other sleep problems: Sleep might suddenly stop for a caregiver, or they could sleep much more than usual. Nights may be restless and full of bad dreams.
● Irritability and mood changes: A sudden mood change is another sign of caregiver role strain. The person may snap at tiny things that they never did before.
● Social withdrawal: Social withdrawal appears when an individual stops hanging out with peers and spends all their time locked away or with the person they’re caring for daily.
● Change in appetite: Change in appetite may include eating much less than before, or indulging in much more.
● Chronic tiredness and exhaustion: The person may not be able to stay on their feet. They may struggle to get from place to place without falling over.
● Loss of interest in hobbies: Things that the individual loved may seem pointless to them now. They may not have the energy to enjoy them anymore.
● Crying easily and often: They may cry at the smallest things, like a wrong meal order or a stubbed toe.
● Unhealthy coping methods, such as alcohol or drug abuse: Substance abuse and other coping methods are a sign that something is very wrong.
All of those are causes for taking a step back and reevaluating the situation.
Whether you notice the symptoms in you or someone you love, it’s vital to understand what’s causing them. From there, you can address the caregiver role strain and make the situation better for everyone involved.
Causes of Caregiver Role Strain
To understand why a person is feeling a certain way, it’s vital to know some of the causes of caregiver role strain. These vary for each person. We’ll talk about a few of the most prominent so you can narrow down what’s going on and determine the cause for your particular case.
Some of the causes of caregiver role strain include:
● Financial burden: The caregiver may not be able to afford the care they need to give.
● Caregiver guilt: They may feel guilty for the position they’re in.
● Difficulty balancing tasks: They may find caregiving interfering with the other things they need to do in their day.
● Difficulty caring for patients: They may find it difficult to care for the patient in a way that feels right.
● Added responsibility: They may not be able to handle the additional responsibility on their shoulders.
● Role shift: They may not have been prepared to be in charge of this loved one.
● Unrealistic expectations: They or the patient may have unrealistic expectations about what’s happening.
● Inadequate support: They may not have support from other loved ones.
● Insufficient training: They may not be properly trained to be a caregiver.
These can cause caregiver role strain.
There’s a multitude of things that could cause caregiver role strain. It’s vital to take preventive actions to keep it from happening.
How to Prevent Caregiver Role Strain
So, how do you prevent caregiver role strain? There are a few things you can do to keep it at bay.
Some of the best ways include:
● Taking care of your health: Keep yourself healthy to be aware of challenges and ready to face them.
● Exercising: Exercise to keep your mind focused and sharp.
● Staying conscious of your behavior: Be aware of how you behave to avoid slipping.
● Avoiding triggers: Steer clear of things that make you feel sad or anxious about your caregiving status.
These can help you prevent caregiver role strain.
But, what if you already have it? How can you get rid of this issue? We’ll talk about this next.
Ideas to Get Rid of Caregiver Role Strain
If you already have caregiver role strain, you must get rid of it as soon as possible. We have a few suggestions for you.
To get rid of caregiver role strain, you should:
● Stay organized
● Have a support team
● Get a support group
● Take some time off
● Try self-care time
● Get assistance
● Set realistic expectations
● Communicate with your loved one
These can help you get back to normal.
Caregiving is a tricky task, and caregiving role strain is real. With the right strategies behind your back, you can take it on when it appears and be back to normal in no time. You can do this!