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How To Handle the Stress of Being a Long-Term Caregiver

The rewards of helping someone every day are endless—so much so that you might forget about your own health and well-being. Explore how to handle the stress of being a long-term caregiver for advice on caring for yourself.

Recognize the Signs of Stress

Caregivers can sometimes become so consumed with their work that they’re unaware of how much it takes a toll on them. Signs of stress include feels of depression, irregular sleeping habits, quickness to anger, and abuse of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, getting back on track can be as simple as doing a momentary self-check-in so that you don’t end up ignoring your feelings. Stress and anxiety will only get worse if you leave them unaddressed.

Maintain Personal Health

Your health is as important as anyone else’s, so you must take care of yourself as well. If you’re spending most of your day inside, find reasons to go outside and exercise. Exercise creates endorphins in the body. Try to maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep, too. Finding the time for healthy living can be hard, but you’ll be more rested and fit to take care of your patient if you can work it in.

Find Respite Care

Finding time for yourself is essential. Caregivers—especially unpaid ones—often let caregiving become their lifestyle. That means 24-7 care for 365 days out of the year. Over time, that schedule becomes impossible to maintain, as you’ll naturally start to wear down from the daily grind, leading to caregiver burnout. As hard as it may be, you have to find a life outside of caring, which is why respite care is so helpful. Respite will give you a temporary rest from care for a few hours or weeks, depending on your needs. That way, you can enjoy your time without having to worry.

Have a Support System

Remembering you aren’t alone will also help. Across the world, people are going through the same struggles as you, so you shouldn’t bottle up your feelings. Instead, find a caregiver support group where you can vent about your day or ask for help when you need it. If there isn’t a physical support group in your city, consider starting one or looking online for the countless message boards and social media groups where caregivers gather.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to handle the stress of being a long-term caregiver, you can help yourself to better help your patient.

Dallas County Offers New Emergency Housing Assistance Program

Dallas County Health and Human Services is offering an emergency housing assistance program (EHAP), funded through the CARES Act, to provide short-term rental, mortgage, and utility assistance to low income Dallas County residents living outside of the City of Dallas econimically affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. Applications are processed through a lottery system and are due by July 9th.

To be eligible, you must
* Reside outside the city of Dallas but within Dallas County
* Currently not be receiving housing assistance through another entity
* Have a household income less than 80% of AMI
* Have suffered an economic impact due to COVID-19

To learn more or apply, call 214-819-1968 or visit www.dallascounty.org/ehap.

 

The Keys to Living 90+

90Years

 

Men and women above the age of 90 are now the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.  There are currently nearly 2 million nonagenarians in the U.S. and that number is projected to quadruple by 2050.  A research study launched in 2003 by UC Irvine and the National Institute of Health set out to learn more about the “oldest old” Americans and determine the factors associated with longevity.

After surveying more than 1600 participants, the 90+Study revealed:

  • People who drink moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee live longer than those who don’t.
  • People who are moderately over weight in their 70s live longer than normal-weight or underweight individuals.
  • People who exercise definitely live longer than people who don’t exercise. As little as 15 minutes a day on average made a difference, with 45 minutes being the ideal.
  • Socialization and engaging in non-physical activities (book clubs, board games, etc.) all contribute to living longer.
  • Taking vitamins and supplements did not show to have an effect on longevity.
  • More than 40% of people aged 90 andover suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in men than women.
  • The risk of developing dementia doubles every 5 years starting at the age of 65, and it keeps on doubling, even past age 90.
  •  People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.

Researchers believe that understanding more about the over 90 crowd will help 60- and 70-year-olds not just learn how to become 90, but how do it with style and fun. So go ahead and enjoy that slice of pie, that cup of coffee, and that glass of wine. Just remember to keep socializing and exercising while you’re at it!