Posts Tagged ‘how to manage caregiver stress’

Reframing Negative Emotions When Life Throws You A Curve

Posted on February 10th, 2016 by karen

Help When Life Throws You A Curve

by Alana Pietrantuono, LMSW

When a loved one falls seriously ill, family members are faced with an unexpected turn of events, one that likely alters the plans they had spent their entire lives constructing. Accepting these changes is a challenge for anyone — they can leave you feeling as though your life has come to a screeching halt.

Joyce, a 35-year-old nurse, was on the verge of purchasing her first home. She had worked hard for many years and finally saved enough money to realize the dream of owning her own place. But when the health of her father, Charles, a 74-year-old Parkinson’s sufferer, took a turn for the worse, Joyce was forced to put her plans of home ownership on hold.

You see, Joyce had been her dad’s primary caregiver ever since her stepmother, Janet, passed away two years before, and it became clear to her that some serious sacrifices would have to be made in order to help her dad. She felt she had two choices: she could either quit her job and move in with her father to take care of him full-time, or continue working and spend the money she had saved for her condo to pay for his around-the-clock care at home. Charles would not consider moving to a nursing home, as he insisted he was still grieving the loss of wife and didn’t want to leave the house where he and Janet had lived together.

Joyce, for her part, was utterly destroyed by the loss of her home-owning dream. And while she felt guilty about this overwhelming emotion, she still couldn’t deny feeling angry and cheated. “I never thought that this is what my life would become,” she said at our first meeting. “I can’t even cope! But I can’t imagine leaving my father either. I would be a terrible daughter.”

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How To Avoid A Caregiver Breakdown

Posted on January 28th, 2015 by karen

Caregiving 24/7

by Erin Tishman

You’ve heard the term “mind over matter”? Caregivers likely take this phrase to heart more than the majority of the population. Despite the constant pressure of managing their loved one’s physical and medical needs, many caregivers simultaneously balance jobs, family and other personal matters. So they hunker down, get in a good mindset and just do what needs to be done.

Truth be told, caregivers are a very strong and resilient bunch. At the same time, however, they are human and are susceptible to breaking down emotionally. No matter how many responsibilities a caregiver can juggle all at once, there’s a good chance they’ll all come crashing down if precautions aren’t taken.

Take Ellen, for example. She’s one of my clients. For years, she thrived as a typical working mother. She held a high-profile job as a marketing executive in a prestigious New York firm. Despite long hours at work and a tedious commute, Ellen made sure she was an attentive and active parent. She volunteered at her kids’ school, never missed a sporting event and was always home in time to cook dinner and help with homework. Ellen had found a work/life balance that most people only dream of.

Last year, Ellen’s seemingly perfect schedule was turned upside down when her elderly father was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. He was able to manage the disease for a few months, but soon needed constant medical care. Ellen moved her father into her home and assumed the role of primary caregiver. At first, Ellen kept her regular schedule intact. But when her father’s needs grew more intensive, Ellen’s carefully balanced routine started to crumble: she was forced to miss more and more meetings at work; shuttling her kids to extracurricular activities became a challenge; and just the thought of cooking dinner exhausted her.

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The Importance Of Stress Reduction For Alzheimer’s

Posted on February 5th, 2014 by karen


For the next few weeks, we are featuring some of our favorite blogs from years past. This entry was first published by In Care of Dad on May 5, 2011.


by Karen Keller Capuciati and Irene Hammer McLaughlin

Intuitively, we all know that stress is not healthy, but research shows that stress can also significantly hasten the progression of AD. So stress management is of great importance and should be addressed at diagnosis.

An August 2006 article published in Science Daily, called “Stress Significantly Hastens Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease,” states that stress hormones significantly increase the proteins beta amyloid and tau, which, in turn, cause the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain. It’s the plaques and tangles that are commonly considered a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

You may have noticed that, in addition to hastening the progression, stress will exacerbate symptomatic behavior like aggression, sleeplessness, and anxiety. So reducing stress could relieve some of the difficult behaviors that create a vicious cycle of stress and suffering. Additionally, reducing stress can also diminish the need for additional medications for anxiety and depression.

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A Care Plan For You

Posted on March 1st, 2011 by karen

by Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC

Caregiver burnout is not a pretty sight.  We get weepy, crabby, overwhelmed and exhausted.  In time, burnout can actually lead to clinical depression and physical illness.  If only we put some of our caregiver energy into our own care, we could prevent this troublesome and even dangerous state of affairs from developing.

In the last years of their lives, our parents required live-in help around the clock as well as a great deal of attention from my brother Dick and me.  In the five-year period during which we managed their care, Dick and I each developed a unique plan to renew our own individual energies.

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