10 Signs Caregiving Is Stressing You Out

Share this content

You’re a caregiver. You send care packages to your child in college. You watch your grandchildren. You have a loving relationship with your spouse. And you help your parents now that they’re growing older.

Sure, it’s a lot of work, but you’re handling it.

Are you?

10 Signs Caregiving Is Stressing You Out

Caregiver stress is caregiver stress, no matter whether you’re taking care of children, your spouse or your parents.

Are you showing these signs of caregiver stress?

#1 Denial

You refuse to accept that anything is wrong. You deny mom and dad are no longer safe at home. You deny the Sunday school teacher who replaced you isn’t doing a good job. You don’t want to see any problems, because, quite frankly, you can’t handle anymore.

#2 Anger

You become irrationally upset for no good reason. You take it out on the people you love most because you don’t know how to handle it. And, worse, sometimes when you know you’ve lashed out and you’re absolutely wrong, you try to find reasons why the other person deserved the treatment they received.

#3 Social withdrawal

You don’t do the things you used to do, because you don’t feel you have the time or energy. You just want some time to yourself with no demands.

#4 Anxiety

Apprehensive about the future, you spend nights awake worrying. What if mom falls? How can I make my department’s meeting and take mom to her doctor’s appointment at the same time?

#5 Depression

You don’t have the energy to lift yourself out of this fog that surrounds you. You can’t see your life improving.

#6 Exhaustion

You’re constantly tired and would love nothing more than to spend the day in bed doing nothing and thinking nothing. You attribute your lack of energy to growing older, but you know that’s not the real reason.

#7 Sleeplessness

You lay awake at night thinking of everything you have to do the next day. You worry about all your loved ones. What if you fail them?

#8 Irritability

Every little thing bothers you. You feel as if you’re living with your skin off, and every interaction, every touch, every word, every reminder hurts.

#9 Lack of concentration

You’re beginning to think you may have early Alzheimer’s. You’ve been reprimanded at work for mistakes you never would have made a year ago. You lose your keys and can’t remember where you parked your car at the grocery store.

#10 Health problems

You’ve put on weight and you feel the people at work don’t look at you the same way. You’re not sure your spouse believes you when you say you’ve got a migraine, which you never used to get before. Is your body breaking down, too?

Consider stress-related health problems. Stress increases the risk of or worsens obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart problems, headaches, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and accelerated aging.

The effects of premature aging are not minor: One study showed it ages people undergoing caregiving stress 9 to 17 years!

Stress also leads to premature death. One study showed a 63% higher rate of death among caregivers than non-caregivers the same age.

What Can You Do About Caregiver Stress?

Now that you recognize the source of your behavior and symptoms, you can address it.

There’s plenty of advice out there about how to alleviate caregiver stress. We’ve even written 10 Tips to Reduce Caregiver Stress and 10 Tactics to Manage Your Health as a Caregiver. It’s all good advice.

However, there’s one final tactic to use when nothing else seems to work: Just say no.

You put yourself in the role of caregiver, so you can take yourself out.

“It’s all well and good for caregiving experts to say, ‘make sure you take care of yourself’ but they skip a step when they give this advice. Because let me tell you this. It’s impossible to take care of yourself if you don’t have good boundaries,” wrote one caregiver.

And “no” doesn’t mean you won’t ever make your spouse dinner or take your dad to get his prescription or watch your grandchild; it can be as simple as taking a breather to regroup and reorganize your life.

“No” may mean taking a vacation with your spouse and leaving your cell phone off. “No” may mean persuading your parents to consider moving to an Assisted Living community. “No” may mean telling your college-age child they can wash their own laundry when they’re home on spring break.

Yes, you will feel guilty, but you probably already feel guilty anyway. How much help will you be if stress damages your health and relationships?

What Are the Advantages of Saying No to Caregiving?

Happiness Coach Jennifer Kass says, “If we say ‘yes’ to others asking of our time and energy and we’ve not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack—which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn’t serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren’t honoring our own needs and boundaries.”

She adds that setting boundaries can remove the anger or resentment of the person who is constantly giving in the relationship.

How to Set Your Boundaries

Kass developed 3 ways to change the negative habits—in action and thinking—that lead to bad relationships. They are:

Identify your fears

Are you acting out of love or fear or a combination of both? Examine your relationships: Are you running over to your mom’s house to deliver sour cream when you’re exhausted because you fear being considered a bad daughter? Do you fix dinner for your spouse because you’re worried they won’t love you if you don’t?

Change your perception

Stop looking at the world and your relationships through fearful eyes. Instead, look at the other side: Wouldn’t your mom love you just as much if you confessed you’re exhausted and you can’t get her sour cream? Wouldn’t your spouse love you just as much if you ordered in or went out for dinner?

Act from a basis of love, not fear.

That means you have to love yourself enough to place importance on your own well-being. Look for alternatives that don’t leave you stressed-out, exhausted and depressed.

Try a stress-free alternative!

If caring for your aging parent is putting stress on your relationships, why not investigate an option that may turn your relationship with your parent around? Assisted Living lets you spend every precious minute enjoying your relationship with your parent, instead of taking care of your parent.

If your parent lives at The Arbors Assisted Living Residential Communities, no longer will you have to take them to their doctor’s appointment or worry that they’re going to fall and break a hip. Instead, you may become a little concerned because they’re not calling you as often, because they’re too busy having fun (and that actually happens frequently).

You won’t have to worry that they’ll become injured or frightened if the weather is bad, because we’ll be there for them. You won’t have to modify their house to try to make it safe, because our buildings are designed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And be assured that we will support their independence and respect their privacy.

  • Browse by Topics

  • Recent Posts

  • Have More Questions?

    Deciding to help a loved one transition to a senior living option is not an easy decision. We can help you get the clarity, answers, and support needed to lessen your worries and take the next steps.

    Click the button below to let us know how we can help you further.

  • Instant Access to the Program Overview Brochure

    Get more details about our signature Memory Care program to determine how well it will fit your loved one’s situation. Simply fill out the fields below to get access to the PDF.
    Reflections Memory Care Brochure Cover


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Have you decided that assisted living is the best option for your elderly parent, and now are feeling overwhelmed on how to begin your search for the right community?

    This guide will go over what you need to know before you make a decision.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Are you considering assisted living for yourself or a loved one but are hesitant about the cost? Assisted living costs, services and amenities vary greatly among the last and most expensive communities, and costs are higher in some states than others.

    This guide will answer questions you may have about the costs of assisted living and recommend resources to help you pay for it.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Talking to your aging parent about moving to an assisted living community isn’t easy.

    Often, many adult children avoid bringing it up because it can be a sensitive topic.

    This guide will provide you with helpful tips and insight on how to have a productive conversation with your parent and siblings regarding your parent’s future.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Difficult behaviors in elderly adults are very common. They may be an expression of frustration your loved one feels or a symptom of early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

    This guide will provide you with skills and knowledge on how to handle difficult behaviors your aging parent may be experiencing.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Becoming a family caregiver can be a rewarding experience. It also has its challenges.

    There are many questions to answer before making the decision to take care of a loved one.

    This guide will provide answers to questions you may have on this topic.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Is your parent or loved one depressed, or just in a bad mood?

    What does medication and illness have to do with depression?

    How can you help? In this guide, you will be provided with answers to the difficult questions you may have about depression.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Has your aging parent recently lost interest in activities they used to enjoy? Have you noticed a change in their mood and behavior?

    This guide will provide you with resources and tools on how to identify depression, what are the common causes of depression, and how to promote mental health in your aging loved one.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Does your loved one need more support than what they are getting? Would they benefit from some assistance with daily activities?

    In this guide, you’ll find answers to the most common questions asked about assisted living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Where do you start searching for assisted living or memory care communities?

    What qualities in a community should you look for? How do you know you made the right decision?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Has your dad stopped getting together for lunches or outings with friends or visits with neighbors? Have you stopped enjoying time with your parents because you’re a caregiver?

    Choosing an assisted living community is a big decision. Learn how to find the right one for you and your loved one.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    No one ever plans to be sick or disabled, and disasters, man-made or natural, can happen at any time, anywhere.

    Yet older adults are among the most vulnerable during a crisis. That’s why it’s critical that seniors, and those who care for them, prepare for emergencies.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Moving to assisted living is a life-changing event.

    This guide provides tips and ideas on downsizing, what to pack and how to make the transition smooth for your senior parent.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this eBook, you’ll learn how to talk with family and friends about caregiving challenges, how to deal with a parent who is resistant to help, how to get more caregiving help from your siblings, and how to keep your job while caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Have you had to cut back your hours at work to care for your mom? Are you worried about administering medications or injections?

    Have you stopped getting together with friends, either because you don’t have the time or you’re too exhausted? Are you becoming the invisible second patient?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    A Guide to the Most Common Family Caregiver Challenges Associated with Caring for an Aging Parent.

    You’ll learn about the true costs of being a family caregiver, common family conflicts that can occur when caring for parents, and some of the unexpected challenges of caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this guide, you’ll learn about the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, including the early symptoms of dementia; the seven stages of dementia and the symptoms that typically accompany each one; and the signs it’s time to start exploring your memory care options.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this guide, you’ll learn about the difference between assisted living and memory care, how health care professionals are trained in dementia care, common features of a memory care community, and questions you should ask when exploring your memory care options.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Navigating adult sibling relationships can be a challenge, but coming together for the sake of your parent is important.

    In this guide, you’ll learn about common sibling conflicts that arise when caring for parents, strategies for getting siblings on board, and where to turn to for help.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Assisted living can be a touchy subject. No matter how you approach it, your parent is likely to have objections to something.

    As you help them transition to a new stage of life, it helps to be prepared with answers to their questions and concerns.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    This checklist will help to make sure you are getting the most out of your visit to The Arbors.

    The list details what important questions to ask during your visit so you are able to make an enlightened choice and find the best assisted living community for your needs.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    If you’re unsure what Assisted Living looks like in real life, whether there is a difference with nursing homes or a desire to see how community life unfolds, then this guide is exactly what you need.

    A guide to discover the Care Team and a Typical Day in Assisted Living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Have you decided that assisted living is the best option for your elderly parent, and now are feeling overwhelmed on how to begin your search for the right community?

    This guide will go over what you need to know before you make a decision.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Are you considering assisted living for yourself or a loved one but are hesitant about the cost? Assisted living costs, services and amenities vary greatly among the last and most expensive communities, and costs are higher in some states than others.

    This guide will answer questions you may have about the costs of assisted living and recommend resources to help you pay for it.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Talking to your aging parent about moving to an assisted living community isn’t easy.

    Often, many adult children avoid bringing it up because it can be a sensitive topic.

    This guide will provide you with helpful tips and insight on how to have a productive conversation with your parent and siblings regarding your parent’s future.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Difficult behaviors in elderly adults are very common. They may be an expression of frustration your loved one feels or a symptom of early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

    This guide will provide you with skills and knowledge on how to handle difficult behaviors your aging parent may be experiencing.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Becoming a family caregiver can be a rewarding experience. It also has its challenges.

    There are many questions to answer before making the decision to take care of a loved one.

    This guide will provide answers to questions you may have on this topic.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Is your parent or loved one depressed, or just in a bad mood?

    What does medication and illness have to do with depression?

    How can you help? In this guide, you will be provided with answers to the difficult questions you may have about depression.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Has your aging parent recently lost interest in activities they used to enjoy? Have you noticed a change in their mood and behavior?

    This guide will provide you with resources and tools on how to identify depression, what are the common causes of depression, and how to promote mental health in your aging loved one.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Does your loved one need more support than what they are getting? Would they benefit from some assistance with daily activities?

    In this guide, you’ll find answers to the most common questions asked about assisted living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Where do you start searching for assisted living or memory care communities?

    What qualities in a community should you look for? How do you know you made the right decision?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Has your dad stopped getting together for lunches or outings with friends or visits with neighbors? Have you stopped enjoying time with your parents because you’re a caregiver?

    Choosing an assisted living community is a big decision. Learn how to find the right one for you and your loved one.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    No one ever plans to be sick or disabled, and disasters, man-made or natural, can happen at any time, anywhere.

    Yet older adults are among the most vulnerable during a crisis. That’s why it’s critical that seniors, and those who care for them, prepare for emergencies.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Moving to assisted living is a life-changing event.

    This guide provides tips and ideas on downsizing, what to pack and how to make the transition smooth for your senior parent.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this eBook, you’ll learn how to talk with family and friends about caregiving challenges, how to deal with a parent who is resistant to help, how to get more caregiving help from your siblings, and how to keep your job while caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Have you had to cut back your hours at work to care for your mom? Are you worried about administering medications or injections?

    Have you stopped getting together with friends, either because you don’t have the time or you’re too exhausted? Are you becoming the invisible second patient?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this guide, you’ll learn about the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, including the early symptoms of dementia; the seven stages of dementia and the symptoms that typically accompany each one; and the signs it’s time to start exploring your memory care options.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this guide, you’ll learn about the difference between assisted living and memory care, how health care professionals are trained in dementia care, common features of a memory care community, and questions you should ask when exploring your memory care options.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Navigating adult sibling relationships can be a challenge, but coming together for the sake of your parent is important.

    In this guide, you’ll learn about common sibling conflicts that arise when caring for parents, strategies for getting siblings on board, and where to turn to for help.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Assisted living can be a touchy subject. No matter how you approach it, your parent is likely to have objections to something.

    As you help them transition to a new stage of life, it helps to be prepared with answers to their questions and concerns.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    A Guide to the Most Common Family Caregiver Challenges Associated with Caring for an Aging Parent.

    You’ll learn about the true costs of being a family caregiver, common family conflicts that can occur when caring for parents, and some of the unexpected challenges of caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    This checklist will help to make sure you are getting the most out of your visit to The Arbors.

    The list details what important questions to ask during your visit so you are able to make an enlightened choice and find the best assisted living community for your needs.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    If you’re unsure what Assisted Living looks like in real life, whether there is a difference with nursing homes or a desire to see how community life unfolds, then this guide is exactly what you need.

    A guide to discover the Care Team and a Typical Day in Assisted Living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Cost Comparison guide

    You’re probably wondering how much the different senior living options compare to your current situation.
    If you do, then this guide is exactly what you need.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Updates on vaccine requirement and our commitment to health and safety during the COVID-19 crisisLEARN MORE
    +