"It's Just Stress"

Photography by W.J. Rusen, used with Permission

Jul 25th, 2010 by Lisa Kendall

Maybe you ache all over.  You don’t sleep well.  Your head hurts and you just don’t feel like yourself any more.  When the doctor says “it’s just stress,” both of you feel frustrated and unsure of what to do next.

It’s time to look more deeply into the very real impact of prolonged or severe stress on our physical and emotional health.  If you have been caring for an ill Elder or other loved one, you are especially vulnerable to caregiver stress, which studies show can lead to depression or make you more prone to a range of chronic illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes.

What are some warning signs of stress?

  • Are you having trouble with relationships at work or at home?
  • Is it difficult to concentrate?
  • Do you cry easily?
  • Are you short-tempered or irritable?

These are a few of the signs that you may need more help with caregiving and/or additional support for yourself.

Elder care partners generally need three basic things: information, support, and respite — a break from caregiving.  Stay tuned to this blog and keep using the internet to gather information and support.

Additionally, your local Office for the Aging has information about resources for caregivers and for Elders; please call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 1-800-677-1116 to find the office nearest you.

Stress can be managed!  There are concrete and practical solutions for you, your family, and your Elder. 

Reach out to learn about the tools that can improve your health and relationships, and don’t feel you have to do the big job of Eldercare alone!

If you ever feel you want to harm yourself or someone else, please don’t hesitate to call your local emergency services at 911, go to the hospital emergency room, or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK for immediate help.

Lisa Kendall is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in Elder Care Partner issues.

2 Responses to “"It's Just Stress"”

  • Leslie Heyer:

    Lisa, I love your topic and your wise insight. My husband is in the field of elder care service, but not in counseling. For the last twenty years he has been in senior food service, either as a food service director at a facilty or an executive chef at a large community. We are both familiar with the Eden alternative work. I am so glad to have “met ” you through the NICABM class. I will follow your blog and website, as we are going through the quick decline of my mother in law, and it is very taxing, even if you’re ” in the business” as we both are. The stress of long distance caregiving is also something I’d love to see you touch on, as my in-laws live in another state. As a midlife mom with a 6 year old and both sets of parents in their 80’s we are not so much” sandwiched” as we are squeezed! Thanks for the work you do, it is so very important. Many blessings, Leslie Heyer

    • Lisa Kendall:

      Hi, Leslie – Thank you for reading the blog and for your kind comments; I will certainly touch on the challenges of long-distance caregiving in an upcoming post. It’s also very different to be a care partner when it’s your own family, as opposed to a “client!” This is something we are all facing, now or soon. I’ll keep you and your family in my heart as you feel the squeeze! Let’s stay in touch and keep sharing thoughts – we learn best from each other. Take care, Lisa K.

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