Caregivers often experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms due to the stress of their responsibilities. Common signs of caregiver stress include feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried, fatigue, sleeping too much or not enough, changes in weight, irritability or anger, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, sadness, headaches, body aches, and other physical issues. The burden of caring for a cancer patient is greater than that of caring for an elderly person and is comparable to that of caring for someone with dementia. When a patient visits their primary care provider and is identified as a caregiver for someone with cancer, it is likely that they are feeling the effects of stress.
Providing practical information about patient care, family maintenance, marriage and relationships, and the importance of self-care can help to reduce the anxiety felt by caregivers. Taking on all caregiving responsibilities without regular breaks or assistance can lead to caregiver exhaustion. To better understand the context of the care experience, it is important to take a comprehensive history and physical examination of the patient as well as evaluate the caregiver. Resources are available for caregivers of adults, children, people with disabilities and mental disorders, veterans, and more.
It is essential to find friends, family members, and temporary care providers who can act as caregivers so that you can take time away from home. In addition to caring for their elderly mother and aunt, this caregiver was also responsible for her father who was living in a nursing home after becoming disabled following brain surgery. Although stressful events are unavoidable, it is possible to identify those who are at greater risk of suffering negative outcomes. It is also possible to assess the extent to which the caregiver's life and health may be adversely affected and recommend interventions that can mitigate the negative repercussions of the care experience.