Why do you suppose flight attendants instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask before you might assist family with their oxygen masks? Because you must take care of yourself first so you can help take care of others. The same reasoning applies when you are a caregiver, you must give yourself enough self-care so that you can continue to care for your loved one. Stress, anxiety and depression can build up without enough replenishment for yourself, remember family caregiving is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. 64% of dementia caregivers pass away before their loved one.

 

Caregiver burnout increases risks of chronic depression along with increased risk of hypertension, flu, diabetes, stroke or even premature death. Caregiver burnout is a leading cause of nursing home placement when the task at home becomes too much for a weakened caregiver.

 

Knowing you are at risk is the first step to reducing stress, take this little quiz to find out how you stand. Answer the following 12 questions, add up your score (A=4 points, B=3 points, C= 2 points, D=1 point) then take some tips to manage stresses involved in caregiving.

 

1. Do you find that often you have difficulty in concentrating?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

 

2. Do you find that often you feel irritable or lose your temper with others?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

3. Do you find that often you feel hopeless regarding the future?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

4. Do you find that you get a good nights sleep (seven or more hours)?

a. Everyday

b. Often

c. Sometimes

d. Seldom or never

5. Can you often relax without the use of alcohol or prescription sedatives?

a. Everyday

b. Often

c. Sometimes

d. Seldom or never

6. Do you often feel overwhelmed by all you have to accomplish daily?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

7. Do you feel you need a cigarette or more caffiene to make it through the day?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

8. Do you often feel you lack energy enough to take care of everyday basics, such as cooking, cleaning etc.?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

9. Are you keeping up with activities you enjoyed before caregiving?

a. Everyday

b. Often

c. Sometimes

d. Seldom or never

10. Do you often feel happy?

a. Everyday

b. Often

c. Sometimes

d. Seldom or never

11. Has anyone been critical regarding your caregiving?

a. Seldom or never

b. Sometimes

c. Often

d. Everyday

12. Do you feel anyone is looking after or caring for you?

a. Everyday

b. Often

c. Sometimes

d. Seldom or never

 

Now take a deep breath and add up your score: Each A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D = 1 point

 

48-42 Cool as a cucumber (low risk)

Keep on taking care of yourself, however remember caregiver stress has a way of creeping up on you without sometimes realizing it.

 

30-41 Temperature rising (elevated risk)

You seem to be managing stress levels well but remember to find new ways to take more time for yourself.

 

18-29 Hot ChaCha (elevated risk)

You may be experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression and physical exhaustion which can lead to compromised health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and chronic depression. Find steps immediately to lower your stress level such as a shared workload (in home services) and outlets such as support groups or therapy.

 

12-17 Totally Toasted (burned out)

You are running on empty but it is a blessing you were able to find and take this quiz. You my friend need immediate help, consult with someone you trust, a doctor, clergyperson, counselor or therapist. At a minimum you need at least to have a physical checkup. It maybe time to look at a vacation away from your loved one, temporary respite for them or even permanent relocation for the person in your care.

 

This test is not diagnostic or scientific but meant to assist you in identifying your stress level. You can find support group listings, counselors, physicians and many other resources on this MyLocalNetwork website.