Try the Caregiver Stress Test
I may seem to repeat myself on the importance of taking care of yourself as an Alzheimer's caregiver, but every time I talk to caregivers I see this problem. Some are angry, others are depressed, and almost all are exhausted.
The meaning of the word caregiver naturally makes us focus on the care recipient and ignore the person giving care. The nature of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is to consume both the patient and the caregiver, creating stress that often goes unrecognized until it reaches a crisis level. The crisis may be illness, emotional overload, or depression that forces the caregiver to acknowledge the impact AD has on their health as well as their patient's.
Take the caregiver stress test below, then give yourself the gift of a break. Ask a relative or friend to relieve you for a couple of hours, or an evening. Spend some time relaxing. You will be a better caregiver if you take care of yourself.
The First Step to Resolving Problems is to Accept Your Emotions.
It's important to acknowledge your feelings because they determine how you view and cope with caregiving. All feeling are legitimate, even those that seem disturbing to you (including anger, frustration, and sadness). Recognizing and accepting your emotions is the first step to resolving problems of guilt and stress. Learn to express your feelings to family members, friends or
Take the Test to Determine Your Stress Level.
Take the Caregiver Stress Test to determine how much stress you are under. It will help you be aware of feelings, pressures and stress you currently feel.
Rate each item:
4. Usually True
5. Always True
__ I find I can't get enough rest.
__ I don't have enough time for myself.
__ I don't have time to be with family members except the person I care for.
__ I feel guilty about my situation.
__ I don't get out much anymore.
__ I have conflict with the person I care for.
__ I have conflicts with other family members.
__ I cry everyday.
__ I worry about having enough money to make ends meet.
__ I don't feel I have enough knowledge or experience to give
care as well as I'd like.
__ My own health is not good.
If your response to one or more of these areas is *usually true* or *often true* it may be time to look for help with caring for your patient and yourself.