Caregivers Alberta understands the unique challenges and demands of caring for a person living with disabilities. While the term “people with disabilities” tends to refer to a single population, it actually refers to a diverse group of people with a wide variety of needs. The specific care of each individual will differ based on circumstances and needs

According to the World Health Organization, disability has three dimensions:

    1. Impairment of a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning. Examples include loss of a limb, loss of vision or memory loss
    2. Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem solving
    3. Participation restrictions of normal daily activities, such as working, engaging in social and recreational activities and obtaining health care and preventive services

Undoubtedly, providing care for a person who requires help in one or all three of these dimensions is a fulltime commitment. This can be an incredibly stressful and isolating experience, not just for the person with the disability, but for the caregiver, too.

Here are a few things caregivers can do now, to help ease their own stress:

Prioritize breaks

Despite what you might think, this is a selfless act. Taking a break from caregiving, even if just for an hour, can help you feel refreshed and fortified, making you better able to tackle the day-to-day stress of being a full-time caregiver.

Practice healthy habits

Eat balanced meals, prioritize sleep and connect with your doctor about any continuing problems

Know your limits

You can’t be everything for everyone—nor should you be. Take advantage of local resources that can provide physical, emotional, and psychological support to you as a caregiver.

Ask for help

Don’t stew in feelings of isolation, anger or frustration. You are not alone in your experience. It’s normal to these things. Reach out to local support groups or a counselor. Having a group of peers who understand what you’re going through, or someone who can offer unbiased advice can provide peace of mind.

Plan for the future

Of course, it is impossible to know what may happen in the future, but you can always plan ahead for likely scenarios. Utilize professionals who can help you plan for legal, financial, or long-term health issues before they materialize. Prepare yourself for the possibility that your care recipient’s status may change, and you may not be able to help any further.

We can help if your struggling with:

  • Feeling overwhelmed, lonely or isolated
  • Trouble balancing work, family and your caregiving responsibilities
  • Navigating the healthcare system, finding available resources
  • Stress-related physical conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems or insomnia
  • Anger (sometimes leading to physical violence)
  • Dissatisfaction with life

It can become difficult to continue providing quality care as the demands on caregivers’ time and energy increases. It becomes increasingly important for caregivers to connect with a sympathetic support network during these times.