Stress Signals for Home Caregivers

larger_Kathy_in_kitchen_24.jpgAlthough many home caregivers find joy and pride in the work they do for their loved ones, they often experience downsides as well. Stress is a common “side effect” for ​many home caregivers. Some caregivers can experience a fairly high level of stress without it consciously registering, or they may know that they experience stress but tend to push it aside as something that's not important.

Yet stress is vitally important. It can have a significant impact on both physical and mental well-being. It can also impact the quality of the care that is given to a patient.


There are numerous signs that home caregivers may be undergoing stress. These are a few of the ones that are more common.

  • Fatigue. Home caregivers are often tired. The amount of work they may be required to do can be draining, especially when caregiving responsibilities intrude on sleep patterns. Being significantly tired much of the time can be an indication of stress; it’s especially likely to be an indicator if one is tired even when getting a reasonable amount of sleep.
  • Snapping. Biting someone’s head off over a simple question or request can sometimes mean a person is just in a grumpy mood. When it’s become chronic, stress may very likely be in play.
  • A stream of worries. Everyone worries about something, but if a caregiver finds that one worry just piles on top of another, this can be a problem. Some caregivers put one worry to rest only to have another one (or more) pop up immediately. The relationship to feeling stressed is clear.
  • Change in mood. If friends or family members notice a “negative” change in a caregiver’s mood – depression, a quick temper, sullenness, etc., – it often means that person is feeling overwhelmed and in need of some stress relief.
  • Aches. Stress creates physical tension, and that often manifests through aches, especially in the neck and shoulders and in the form of headaches. If the body is overwrought with stress, this may be its way of expressing this fact.
​Home caregivers who are stressed need to find ways of easing their burdens. Although it can sometimes be difficult, enlisting the aid of family members and friends or of professional caregivers can be a big help.​

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