Let's Kill Caregiving Stress


Let's Kill Caregiving Stress

Consider two recent news stories:

Both family caregivers shared they just wanted to end the suffering their carees endured.

Caregiving stress is killing us.

In January 2015, it hit me: Caregiving stress is the true epidemic in our communities. I continued to write about stress, created a petition to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start tracking family caregiver stress and its source and held chats on Twitter to discuss the impact of caregiving stress during which we tagged the CDC and its director. Finally, after spinning my wheels, I decided to track family caregiver stress and its source myself.

Since tracking family caregivers, 596 family caregivers have shared their stress level and their cause of their stress. Some have shared their responses more than once (which is what we want) which brings our total responses to our survey to 629. Since launching the stress survey, the stress level has remained constant: 4.16 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most stressed.

In addition to knowing the level of stress, we need to understand the reason for the stress. Our top three answers selected by respondents are:

I miss my life: 72.67% of respondents

I don't sleep well at night: 64.77% of respondents

I haven't had a break: 61.61% of respondents

We need to change the caregiving experience so family caregivers can stay connected to their lives, sleep at night and take breaks. Family caregivers need ongoing financial and emotional support. They need a back-up to provide quality, consistent care so they can take a break.

We need to continue to create awareness around the reasons for the stress and to create innovative and simple solutions. (Read my Imagine series from 2015 and 2016. You also can read about my Caregiving Squad idea from 2013.)

You can help. Here's how:

I'll be sharing more about family caregiver stress at the Second Annual National Caregiving Conference, which happens November 10 and 11 in Chicago. My session, Let's Kill Caregiving Stress, will be part of the Family Tract on November 10 and will take place at 4 p.m. (Register to join us!) (Are you a company which offers products and services for family caregivers? Support family caregivers by exhibiting and sponsoring our conference.)

Over the next few days, I'll share thoughts on why I think family caregiver stress has become such a dire situation.

We need better ways to cope with caregiving stress than a hammer and injections. Let's get the help family caregivers need.

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Denise, this is outstanding that you are on this topic. The results of unabated caregiver stress can be catastrophic, as seen in my own community lately.