According to last year’s census, 270,000 adults over the age of fifteen describe themselves as carers. While caring can be a very rewarding and bonding experience, the role is often demanding, exhausting and stressful which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
This stress can manifest itself in a wide range of ways, emotionally and physically, including disturbed sleep, headaches, weight fluctuation, fatigue, anxiety and mood swings. It is vitally important for family caregivers to recognise the signs and take steps to deal with stress before it becomes a major problem for the themselves or for the person they look after.
"With National Carers Week (June 18th-24th) approaching, I’d like to share five basic strategies to help control the destructive effects of stress,” says Noeleen Cronin of Home Instead Senior Care, Cork, who have produced a free information guide aimed specifically at family carers. Running on Empty – who cares for the CAREGivers? examines the role of caregiving from the carers point of view, offering insights and information on coping with the stresses the task inevitably brings.
“Those five coping strategies are: set realistic expectations and goals; establish limits; ask for and accept help; take care of yourself and involve other people,” Noeleen continues, "Running on Empty goes through each strategy explaining steps that can be taken to achieve a reduction in stress. A caregiver who takes care of themselves, mentally and physically, will ultimately be a better carer to their loved one."
To download a copy of Running on Empty visit www.homeinstead.ie.