There is a physical toll on caregivers which is based on the exertions needed in daily care giving. Those often include lifting, carrying, stretching, bending, squatting on a regular, often frequent rate throughout the day. In addition, many caregivers are elderly or in poor health themselves and not used to lift or support the weight of an adult sometimes larger than themselves.
Physical exhaustion combined with the emotional stress of caregiving can lead to caregiver burnout and result in many serious conditions ranging from high blood pressure to a compromised immune system which shows up as frequent colds, headaches, and other afflictions. Highly stressed caregivers are also more prone to fall, to cut and bruise themselves. According to a study quoted in the Dec. 1999 Journal of the American Medical Association, the death rate of older caregivers is over 60 % higher than that of non caregivers in the same age group.
Caregivers, while taking care of somebody else, often don’t seek help for themselves and muddle along to the detriment of their charge and their own.
Signs to look out for:
Various physical health problems showing up.
(back pain, sore feet, eating disorders, elimination problems, headaches, arthritis, vision and hearing problems, tooth and gum problems, inflammation, etc.
Feeling fatigued, tired and listless.
(lack of energy, needing frequent rest, lack of interest)
Changes in sleep patterns.
(not enough sleep, too much, waking frequently and not being able to go back to sleep.)
Change in eating patterns.
(eating less or more than usual)
Changes in hygiene patterns.
(neglecting to bath, shave, brush teeth, wash and tend to hair)
Change in emotional behavior.
(increasing frequency of outbursts of anger, crying spells, self loathing, self pity)
Change in social patterns.
(withdrawal from family, friends and other former activities)
Are you a caregiver who neglects your own well being?
Stop right now and FIRST take care of yourself because you cannot and should not care for others without foremost taking care of your own needs. You owe it to yourself and to the one you take care of, as well as the rest of your family.
As a caregiver, when I was at my wits end, nothing helped me as much as the use of essential oils to quickly regain balance. Taking just a few minutes of focusing on balance while inhaling the soothing fragrance of an essential oils such as Lavender or Orange, or one of the blends such as Harmony, Peace and Calming, or Grounding allowed me to quickly be back in control of my emotions and often also get physical relief. After refocusing this way, both my husband and I benefited greatly because the stress of what ever the situation was, had been broken.
Of all the various tools to help caregivers to stay balanced, none worked as fast and as well as did organic, therapeutic essential oils. Give them a try.