How To Cope with Stress of Caring for Sick Relatives

Are you struggling to cope with the stress of caring for sick relatives? We all know that sinking feeling when a relative of ours gets sick. We worry whether they will ever recover and how we’re going to cope if we have to look after them. It takes its toll on our wellbeing.

elderly woman's hands show years stress of caring for sick relatives

The extent to which care work harms us, though, is only recently being understood by researchers. It turns out that the chronic stress of looking after somebody else who’s sick in our family can shorten our telomeres and literally make our bodies ten years older. 

The solution isn’t to stop caring for people in your family. Instead, it’s to find better ways of coping with stress.

Here are some best practices that allow you to protect yourself while also providing for the needs of the elderly, sick or disabled person in your family

Take Regular Breaks From Care

Caring for somebody for a month and then taking a break is usually a manageable setup. But there are a lot of people out there who spend their entire lives caring for another person, without any respite whatsoever. 

This approach might seem like the noble thing to do, but it ultimately winds up hurting both parties. The person providing the care services feels burned out all the time, unable to enjoy their lives. And the other party – the person being cared for – constantly worries about their wellbeing. 

Most healthcare relationships involve the caregiver taking regular breaks to enjoy their own independence. Usually, they’ll take a weekend or a week to themselves and get other care staff to temporarily fill their role in their absence. 

Get Paid For Your Work

Most people assume that providing care to family members is unpaid work. But it turns out that you can earn money through the Personal Care Services program, taking the stress off you financially. Family and friends of the person requiring care can apply for pay for providing care services to other members of their household, upping their income in times of need. Remember, when you work in care, you can’t always work for money at the same time. 

Take A Stoic Approach To Life

Stoicism is an ancient philosophy, but it can help care workers enormously.

Things don’t always go the way you planned as a carer. Life can take all kinds of twists and turns. You never know what’s around the corner. 

Taking a stoic approach where you accept the grim realities of life can actually help. By accepting that people’s bodies don’t always work perfectly and don’t last forever, you can find a sense of peace that makes your life slightly easier. 

Get Social Support

Caring for somebody you love solo can be very challenging. You don’t always know what you should do next. 

It’s a good idea, therefore, to perform your work in the context of a team of support workers and medical staff. They can provide you with practical advice on how to take care of the family member in your life properly so you know you’re doing the right thing. 

What are your tips for how to cope with the stress of caring for sick relatives?

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