Millions of informal caregivers take care of more than one person at a time- a growing phenomenon known as “compound caregiving”. Multi-person caregiving may involve various scenarios, for example, an adult child taking care of both elderly parents simultaneously, or a parent and grandparent.
According to one study, the average compound caregiver spends 50 hours or more per week on their duties. And although compound caregiving is a labor of love, it can also be exhausting and stressful. Fortunately, staying positive as a multi-person caregiver is possible when taking these steps.
Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress
For most compound caregivers twenty-four hours in a day never seems to be enough. As a result, caregiver stress and even caregiver burnout are possible. These are the most common warning signs of caregiver stress to watch for:
- Being short-tempered and irritable
- Feeling anxious, lonely, or depressed
- Feelings of resentment
- Abusing alcohol, food, or drugs
- Trouble concentrating
- Getting sick more often
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Feeling tired and run down
- Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much
To make matters even worse, most compound caregivers also manage at least a part-time job and household along with their caregiving responsibilities. Left unaddressed, caregiver stress and burnout can lower the quality of life for all parties involved.
Time Management Tips for Compound Caregivers
As a compound caregiver, it is possible to stay recharged and refreshed by following these time management tips:
Learn what you’re up against
Certain health conditions that your loved ones may have require caregiver training that goes above and beyond normal duties. Learning as much as possible about those conditions will better equip you as a caregiver to take them on. For example, if mom has Parkinson’s disease, research the symptoms and what to expect as her condition worsens.
Potential sources of training include family members or friends who serve in the healthcare field, a geriatric care manager, or an online caregiver support group. As your loved one’s illness progresses these resources can also be invaluable in determining the next steps.
Trying to take on all the daily responsibilities by yourself can be overwhelming. Find ways to outsource some of your loved ones’ care to others, for example, meal planning or handling the medical and insurance paperwork. Use a daily planner or digital caregiving calendar to organize your tasks and delegate responsibilities to siblings and other trusted family members.
In addition to relatives, other potential sources that can lend their time and talents to your efforts may include:
- Meal delivery services
- Online pharmacies
- Community volunteers that work with the aging
- Adult daycare centers
- A licensed home care agency
Take care of yourself
You won’t be any good to your loved ones if you allow yourself to get physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Keep your mind and body strong by eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting seven to eight hours of sleep every day, and taking a well-deserved break at least once a month.
Here are some other ways to take better care of yourself as a compound caregiver:
- Exercise regularly
- Pray or meditate
- Don’t neglect your other relationships
- Participate in a hobby or two
- Get an annual physical
Reliable Homecare Assistance is Only a Phone Call Away
Although serving as a compound caregiver is highly rewarding, it can also be stressful and exhausting. When you need some assistance, reach out to us! As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our compassionate respite caregivers can step in and provide your loved one with the nurturing they deserve. Our agency’s mission is keeping seniors aging safely and comfortably in place right where they want to be while maintaining their quality of life, independence, and dignity.
In addition to respite care, our family trusted in-home services include companionship care, light housekeeping, personal care, dementia care, medication reminders, transportation, and even live-in and 24-hour care. For your added convenience and peace of mind, all our amenities can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about us, or to schedule a FREE initial consultation for a senior in our service area today, please call us or visit us online.