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April Is National Stress Awareness Month

In honor of Stress Awareness Month in April, Dallas senior care providers want family caregivers to be more familiar with signs of stress and how to manage it. This annual holiday has been dedicated to spreading the message about the dangers of stress and providing coping strategies since 1992. Stress Awareness Month is important because the information that is shared can help millions of Americans who may be exposed to stress, particularly those caring for senior family members. Additionally, since this holiday has a yearly focus, health care professionals can get the word out about research findings regarding modern sources of stress how to effectively manage them.

What Is Stress?

The National Institute of Mental Health defines stress as the brain’s response to any demand. These demands, and their responses, can be mild, major, or even extreme. Stress, particularly chronic stress, can manifest itself in physical symptoms and result in more serious health complications. For family caregivers, this stress could lead to anxiety, depression, and even burnout.

What Is Stress Awareness Month?

National Stress Awareness Month is an opportunity for family caregivers and others who experience stress to learn more about this condition and how to manage it. This knowledge is also beneficial for those receiving care, as illness is often a source of stress. Just as important, however, are the benefits for caregivers, as this job is both physically and emotionally demanding.

What Are Some Signs of Stress?

  • Low energy
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Constant worrying
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach or nausea 
  • Becoming easily agitated or frustrated

What Are Some Ways to Reduce Stress?

 

  • Exercise regularly
  • Seek emotional support from a trusted friend or advisor
  • Create a list of priorities and learn to say “no” when the list becomes too demanding
  • Schedule time for self care doing relaxing activities
  • Seek help from a health care professional, family member, or respite care provider

What Resources Are Available?

  • Primary care physician
  • National Institute of Mental Health website
  • National Stress Awareness Month website
  • The Mayo Clinic website for caregivers

Premier home care starts with healthy caregivers. In order for family caregivers to remain healthy, sometimes they need some time for themselves. Give yourself the time you need to regroup by turning to Home Care Assistance of Dallas. We provide respite Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke care Dallas family caregivers can trust to take care of their loved one’s individual needs in the comfort of home. This gives you the opportunity to unwind and recharge before returning to help your loved one manage illness and recover from injury. Call us today at (214) 253-8784 to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

3 Joys of Being a Family Caregiver

Though being a caregiver can pose a range of challenges, most family caregivers find providing the live-in or hourly home care Dallas seniors need to be highly rewarding. If your senior loved one could use the assistance of a family caregiver, here are three reasons why senior care experts believe it could be worth it.

1. Furthers Familial Relationships

Because being an in-home caregiver for your senior relative requires spending many hours a week together, it’s likely that you will develop a healthier relationship than before. Likewise, most family caregivers agree that there is a special and unique bond that is formed between caregivers and their loved ones that can further an already close relationship.

2. Provides Peace of Mind

If you’re like most families, nursing facilities may not seem like the right option for your senior loved one’s care. Becoming an in-home caregiver for your elderly relative can be an alternative that can help maintain your peace of mind. Rather than wondering if your loved one is receiving one-on-one care, choosing to become a caregiver or selecting professional in-home care for your relative can ensure there is always someone around to help with his or her needs.

3. Offers Comfort for Loved One

While other in-home care options, like hiring a professional hourly caregiver, can benefit many seniors, the familiar face of a family caregiver may enhance your loved one’s level of comfort from the beginning. Having a caregiver that a senior already knows and loves can help your loved one feel relaxed and accept the assistance he or she needs to continue living safely and comfortably at home.

Though you may cherish the time you spend caring for your senior loved one, sometimes even family caregivers need a break. If you need respite from caregiving, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide compassionate Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care for seniors in Dallas by helping seniors with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, and personal care. Contact a knowledgeable Care Manager today at 214.363.3400 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.

Melt Holiday Stress with These Caregiver Tips

Just anticipating holiday hustle and bustle can be a source of anxiety. Family caregivers in particular are susceptible to stress during the holiday season, a trusted provider of in-home care in Dallas have prepared the following tips to help family members ease the tension and enjoy some quality time with their loved ones.

Simplify Holiday Tasks

Many people max themselves out with holiday “must-dos”, but scaling them down will immediately reduce your stress. One way to reassess your priorities is to draw up a simple chart. Write down your holiday tasks, and then ask yourself these four questions:

  • Would the holiday be as meaningful without this activity?
  • Is there an easier way to do this?
  • Am I doing this out of habit, obligation, or by choice?
  • Can this task be shared?

The above stress assessment tool will help shorten your to-do list. Now that you have an overview of what you need to do, organize these activities in order of necessity. Focus on those at the top of your list and don’t worry about the ones at the bottom.

Budget Your time

Enlist the help of your calendar and clock to pinpoint when you should start an activity and designate a specific day for it. For example, figure out when you should do the cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking in preparation of the holidays. Then when the day for a task arrives, estimate the time it will take to complete it. Is there a job you tend to belabor? If so, set an alarm or timer and try to stick to your time allotment, but don’t get unnerved if the work takes longer than expected. The time allotment is merely a guiding tool.

Make Lists

Do you ever experience “butterfly mind”? It’s when random thoughts keep flitting through your brain, which can get pretty distracting. To net your ideas, get them down on paper and organize your lists accordingly. For example, create several lists: one for menus, groceries, gifts, and chores.

Streamline Shopping 

There are several ways to systematize gift buying:

  • Shop online whenever feasible.
  • Catalog shop and order by telephone.
  • Buy the same gift for as many people as possible. 
  • If you prefer to meander the mall, keep a list in hand. This will prevent you from getting sidetracked, overspending, and overbuying.
  • Is the list of gift recipients way too long? If so, draw names. You can do this for your immediate family, siblings, and extended family. Write names on slips of paper, put them in a hat, and pick one person for whom to buy. 

Laugh Often

Diffuse stress with comic relief. Laughter has health benefits similar to those of exercise in that it lowers cortisol and raises levels of white blood cells. A hearty laugh relaxes muscles for 45 minutes and relieves anxiety and pain. Additionally, shared laughter is a bonding experience and will make the holiday season much more jolly. Here are some ways to exercise your funny bone:

  • Watch a funny movie or sitcom.
  • Recall a humorous story.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Goof around with a child.
  • Do something silly.
  • Tell a good joke.

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season overrun the time you give to your senior loved one. Home Care Assistance provides quality live-in care Dallas families can rely upon, whether you need a few hours alone to plan for the holidays or 24-hour assistance. Let our experienced caregivers lighten your load and care for your senior loved one while you focus on making his or her holiday special. Call us today at 214.363.3400 and schedule your free consultation.