BlogAll
All

Caregiver Stress and Respite Care Services in Singapore

Pexels Cedric Fauntleroy 4270365

Having a family member that has been recently diagnosed with a progressive disease is life-changing. Family members with progressive diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or even cancer patients need constant attention since they tend to be weak or forget daily tasks that may cause injury to themselves. The elderly also need help in daily activities after a certain age to prepare meals and help in their personal care. As there is a prior commitment to other responsibilities like work, family, and other day-to-day activities, the added responsibility of taking care of and meeting your family member’s needs can get overwhelming.

Being a caregiver to elderly family members turns into being a full-time caregiver for the elderly in Singapore, which can be rewarding but after a while, it can get stressful. The accumulative stress of caregiving and working on prior commitments may turn into mental, emotional, and physical fatigue that turns into caregiver burnout if it is unaddressed.

In being a primary caregiver, there are times when one experiences stress in your responsibility, and there is a difficulty in being able to execute your part adequately. It is a long and demanding journey wherein stressed caregivers feel helpless in certain circumstances that your family member is in.

Caregiver burnout is a form of emotional and physical exhaustion wherein you find yourself in a constant state of stress that is caused by unchecked emotional, mental and physical stress. This happens when you do not get to handle stress well and feel overwhelmed with your caregiving tasks and feel frustrated and helpless in your role as primary caregivers. Some symptoms of caregiver stress are lack of energy, irritable behavior, prolonged sleeping, and a decline of interest in hobbies or activities that one enjoys.

In Singapore, 8.1% of Singaporean permanent residents are provided with regular care and assistance by friends and family members in their daily living. Around 65% of the care recipients are elderly that require assistance with health care problems and disabilities. Most of their family caregivers (74%) are employed, with these statistics many caregivers balance their tasks between work and familial responsibilities.

There is insufficient data regarding caregiver stress in Singapore, however, studies in the US have shown that there is physical, mental, and emotional health deterioration in family caregivers. Around 23% of caregivers have a higher degree of physical stress in elderly care. There are also about 40% to 70% of caregivers who suffer from symptoms of depression.

In Singapore, 8.1% of Singaporean permanent residents are provided with regular care and assistance by friends and family members in their daily living. Around 65% of the care recipients are elderly that require assistance with health care problems and disabilities. Most of their family caregivers (74%) are employed, with these statistics many caregivers balance their tasks between work and familial responsibilities.

There is insufficient data regarding caregiver stress in Singapore, however, studies in the US have shown that there is physical, mental, and emotional health deterioration in family caregivers. Around 23% of caregivers have a higher degree of physical stress in elderly care. There are also about 40% to 70% of caregivers who suffer from symptoms of depression.

In family caregiving, one prioritizes the family member or loved one’s health and well-being over themselves, most often than not caregivers neglect their own health. These are some signs and symptoms that taking care of your loved ones is already giving you an emotional toll and mental exhaustion:

  1. Lack of energy, even after resting
  2. Increased anxiety, depression, irritability, and impatience
  3. Feeling overwhelmed, helpless or hopeless
  4. Falling sick more often
  5. Neglect of responsibilities and daily needs
  6. Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  7. Sleep pattern changes
  8. Appetite or weight change
  9. Withdrawal from social interactions with friends, family, and loved ones
  10. Finding it hard to relax, and constantly worrying even if professional help available
  11. Feeling like your life revolves around caregiving
  12. Wanting to hurt yourself or the person you are caring for

Chronic caregiver stress can generate problems in physical and mental health. Chronic stress plays a part in physical exhaustion with headaches and migraines, a compromised immune system, disturbances in sleep, irritability, digestive stress, and weight changes. In some caregivers, there is a big impact on mental health as they develop depressive symptoms or get diagnosed with depression. Some also express that they have increased emotions of anxiety and frustration. There may also be a feeling of guilt for some caregivers as they expect themselves to do more for their elderly family members. Caregivers also have little satisfaction in what they do for their care recipient.

Being a caregiver is a stressful role, caregiver stress does not only affect your health but also affects the standard of care being given to the elderly family member. Here are some ways to avoid or manage caregiver stress and prevent caregiver burnout:

  1. Break down your tasks, by breaking down your tasks it does not feel too overwhelming.
  2. Manage your expectations, there is only so much a caregiver can do for your family member, and not seeing improvement may leave you discouraged. Having no unrealistic expectations helps in the emotional impact of caregiving.
  3. Accept your role as a caregiver, accepting your role as a caregiver will help in the quality of care that you will be providing for your elderly family member.
  4. Get Support from your loved ones, when you are feeling down seek advice and or support from friends and family.
  5. Appreciate yourself, as a caregiver you put a lot of effort into providing quality care, so you have to appreciate yourself for being able to make a difference in your family member’s life.
  6. Take a Break, being able to take breaks is a necessity as this will help you energize yourself and be a better caregiver. Give yourself a few hours or even a few minutes for your own personal care and relieve stress.
  7. Practise self-care, eating, and fixing sleep patterns is the first step toward taking care of yourself. Also, strive to include exercises in your daily routine so you’ll stay physically active. Being able to take care of yourself will help you in taking care of others.
  8. Relax and Meditate, this will help in regrouping yourself when things get overwhelming, deep breathing exercises are one way to help you relax.
  9. Utilize caregiver support services, being able to relate and share with people in a similar situation can bring comfort. They may also help in sharing strategies in your caregiving journey. Caregiver support groups provide caregivers with the emotional support, coping strategies, and formation of meaningful friendships that they need. Joining online support groups works, too.
  10. Ask for help, taking the load of caregiving responsibilities will lead to caregiver burnout. Don’t be fearful of asking for help from family, professional care providers, in-home support, or respite services.

In dealing with caregiver stress, one can get support from family, practise self-care, seek professional advice, take a break from caregiving and explore care options for your family member in Singapore. In seeking professional advice, you can consult a professional regarding your feelings and responsibilities to help with coping with caregiving stress, this may lessen the load on your caregiver burden. Taking a break from caregiving can help with caregiver stress but there will be no one to care for/ monitor the disease progression for your family member or loved one. It is important to explore the right care options for your family member. Respite caregiving services are a short-term option when you want to take a break from caregiving or require help in elderly care.

In Singapore, there are three options: home nursing care Singapore, senior care center respite care, and night respite care. Nursing home respite care is a bed-and-board option where the elderly can have additional nursing care. It is mostly suitable for the elderly with illnesses or diseases that need utmost attention. Senior care center respite care is a daycare option for the elderly who need aid in daily activities. They can also interact socially with other elderly people through exercises and games. Lastly, Night respite care is for the elderly who have dementia and undergo sundowning behavior in which they have trouble sleeping or are awake at night.

Having these options for elder care services Singapore may help you deal with caregiver stress and pave the way to recharging and being energized to renew your caregiving responsibilities. Also, helping in your bond and connection with your elderly family members.

Cta Section

Start Getting The Best Care

Hiring a caregiver might not only be a necessity
but a gift you can give yourself. Get started with a free care assessment and learn more about Red Crowns Caregivers.