The COVID-19 outbreak has taken an emotional toll on everyone including caregivers. It is important to help family caregivers keep themselves and those around them safe, happy, and healthy. AARP in Texas knows the value caregivers bring to all our communities which is why we work feverishly to provide practical resources and up to the minute information to keep them safe.
Care Partners is also providing resources to help caregivers and their loved ones cope and manage. Like AARP, this nonprofit volunteer organization focuses on providing caregivers the tools to care for their loved ones throughout their caregiving journey. Jenna Dhayer is the Care Partners president and offers advice on how caregivers can stay positive and reduce stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dhayer said that some of us may not even realize we are under stress. Being able to identify what kind of stress you or a loved one are dealing with can make it easier to alleviate anxious feelings.
“There are two different types of stress, good stress, and bad stress. Good stress motivates you toward being productive. It might be stressful to think about working out, doing laundry, gardening, or any task that may give you some anxiety because it can seem overwhelming, but can end in a positive result.,” said Dhayer.
Bad stress comes in forms that are outside of your control. This may involve dealing with the aftermath of damage from hurricanes, poor health, death, or just coronavirus in general. This bad stress can be hard to deal with, and how your body responds to those can impact your health.
“It is fairly easy to identify stress. The stress that comes to us in the bad form is uncontrollable. They are out of our control, and this could be difficult to deal with,” said Dhayer.
Both caregivers and the person they care for can experience stress. But caregivers can be more vulnerable to stress when they are trying to manage their own stress in addition to the person(s) they take care of. This can put a tremendous amount on strain on the relationship between the caregiver and loved one, more so the caregiver because they are carrying the stress of two people. Dhayer said people caring for individuals with memory loss may be under extra pressure.
“Folks who have memory loss have a difficult time comprehending if there is a change in atmosphere or a change in their routine. A person with memory loss who is taken out of their routine or their element and is thrown into a confusing situation could find it difficult to cope with the situation,” said Dhayer. “It is especially hard for the caregiver because their loved one may not be able to comprehend exactly what’s happening.”
Dhayer said Care Partners offers support groups and programs for caregivers, allowing them to take a break while isolated at home with caregiving responsibilities. During stay-at-home orders, caregivers are without physical support to get a break. To help caregivers deal with the stress they are experiencing now, Care Partners has dedicated its mission response during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that caregivers can continue to get some level of support while they are isolated.
With the help of their staff and volunteers, Care Partners is providing caregivers numerous opportunities to get support, information, and an opportunity to share their caregiving stories with others.
To say healthy, Dhayer encourages caregivers and their loved ones to do fun, positive things together. Stay in touch with your loved ones with phone calls, video calls, and use technology to connect. In the end, just talking to other people it can reduce stress.
Stay safe, think positively, adapt to the situation, smile, and have fun. We will all get through this together.
For tips on combatting stress, visit www.carepartnerstexas.org.
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