Caregiver Anxiety

3 Tips to Beat "Restless Caregiver Syndrome"
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After you've been taking care of someone for a while, it's not unusual to feel . . . antsy. You may find yourself having fantasies of escape -- worrying that your life has taken a left turn you never expected and can't see the end of. Some call it "restless caregiver syndrome." What helps?

Play a game with yourself. Imagine you've been given three years to reinvent yourself. What would you do? Learn a new language? Become a teacher? Brush up your computer skills and start a website or create a mobile app? Sell your favorite craft online? Or, imagine you're under house arrest, so you can't leave -- but you're not caregiving. What would you do with yourself? These kind of daydreams can help you identify other possibilities for your life, concurrent with caregiving, that help you feel more satisfied -- and less like running away.

Vent safely, within reason. One good idea: Call a friend and ask if you can vent for ten minutes. Set a timer, and when time's up, switch to noncomplaint mode. Tell the friend to warn you or hang up if you continue ruminating and venting, because after a point it's not healthy.

Create a time-off plan. In your "stuck" hours, work on how you'll get a break and what you'll do. Look into part-time nursing care or elder companions, respite programs, or ways you can rope siblings into helping more. You'll never get away if you don't plan a getaway.

Image by Flickr user Bruno Girin under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike licensing agreement.


4 months ago, said...

Just venting. I am having a hard time right now. My husband is not worst or better, it's all me and I can't shake it. I get really depressed every time I take a respite of any length of time. I feel bad for leaving him, I don't ever want him to think I don't love him and good care is hard to find. He can not speak and is bed bound (not really sure medically necessary - yes his right side is paralyzed but he could try to get in a wheelchair. Most people don't take the time to figure out what he needs. I do understand their side but I also want him to have good care. I only take respite because his nurse keeps bugging me that I need it. When I take it I feel horrible. When he is back I get frustrated and angry because this may go on for another 10/15 years.it has be almost 8 year so far. Who knows. He is on hospice care but I don't really feel like he is dying. I agreed to it because the last time he was in the hospital they were telling me how much help I would get. HA HA. The nurse comes once a week to tell me I need time off and explain that they do not do diagnosics (doesn't matter he has stomach pains or that he vomits for what appears to be no reason. who knows. It drives me crazy not knowing, I am one of those people that always wants to know why. The response I get is he is dying what difference does it make. That makes me mad. On the other hand I just want to die or run away but I can't stand the idea of no one showing him any love. I know our children will not be there for him, they have told me they have their own lives to life and one of my daughts has proving it by refusing to help his father in law and in fact at the moment they are not sure where he is. He has dementia and was in a nursing home with medicare assistance but that stopped be he owns a house in puerto rico but no one can sell it because no one has power of attorney for him. When his wife (my daughters mother in law) died they brought him to AZ - were they live - and put him in a nursing home. but now because of the house medicare won't pay his stay anymore and my daughter and her husband refuse to help pay or take him into their home. The nursing home sent him to the hospital due to a seizure and the last my daughter heard they are trying to find a place to put him. meanwhile he has not seen his son or grandchild for the 3 months he has been in the hospital. My daughter say because she doen't want to hear how she should help the hospital find a place for him. Anyway that tells me how she is going to teat us as we age. My oldest daughter doesn't even answer text, phone or email from me any more. But I am afraid of what I am going to do. I cry all the time even when caring for my husband. There is no life in this house only waiting to die but I don't know how to rush it. Well I don't have the guts. I don't know why our daughters do care I am pretty sure I raised them better than that but I guess not. I must have been a really horrible mom because I didn't even know it. Sad how life ends and I really wasn't prepare for it. I thought I would have my daughter care about me until I die. But guess I was wrong. How can I possible go on but I don't have the guts to end it because it would have be both of us. I couldn't leave him behind by himself with no one loving him or even caring. Yes I know God is with us and all that stuff but I must have really mad him mad as well otherwise he would end it for me.


over 1 year ago, said...

I understand the need to escape. Some days are unbearable and keep going down hill. Some days are tolerable. Some days I can remember the man I fell in love with and some days seem like there is no end to the needs of someone else. where am I in all this? Limbo!


over 2 years ago, said...

Without Faith, Hope, and Charity, I would be nothing. Charity is the greatest of the 3, but Hope is what keeps our Faith and Charity going!


over 2 years ago, said...

As said before, "hope is necessary to survive the Caregivers journey" Hope and Faith that things will change."


over 2 years ago, said...

Here I am again - seeing this article. Dad is still here. He now "realizes that he is old" - for whatever that's worth. He's doing well for a 92.5 year old (the .5 is VERY important to him). I still keep looking at the real estate in the area I plan to move to, but realize that it will only happen at the "right time", as Heavenly Father is in charge, and I need to be with Dad until his journey in this life is done. The "house arrest" sounds interesting - I think that I would work on a lot of the craft projects that have been piling up undone.


over 2 years ago, said...

2 of the 3 suggestions, helpful. Playing a game, no. Anything I would want to do would take me to a foreign place that I can remember happier times. Only my imagination can do that.


over 3 years ago, said...

I just lost my youngest brother, was in a bad car accident, am worrying about my husband losing his job and have to run my household and run to my mother's everyday to take care of her and her house because she has AD.


over 3 years ago, said...

I had completely forgotten about this short article! It came out around the time my Mother passed away, so that's probably why. I have been investigating real estate in the area I plan to move to once my family caregiving responsibilities are over. It is 2,000 miles away from where I am now, and although it looks dismal now (Dad wants to live to 100, he's currently 91.5), I know that sooner or later it will happen. Just hard to see homes that I would really like to live in be taken off the MLS site. It's my current way of dreaming about a new life for me. The bottom line - Hope is necessary to survive the Caregiver's Journey! Have Hope and Faith, things will change!


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks to David and to you (whoever) is responsible for this communication. I already feel like I have a new friend.


over 4 years ago, said...

the time limit on venting. To figure out what to do with myself after it is over, besides grieve.


over 4 years ago, said...

The ideas and a different perspective on how to look at the situation!


over 4 years ago, said...

This article really hits the spot! Iam always dreaming of how to escape! Iam planning now for my birthday, hope it goes better than last year! I have been taking care of my mother for 9 yrs. And she lives with us. When I left her with my sister and nephew, they called me the next morning in motel at 5am to come back and get her, she suddenly couldn't walk or anything, acting out of it, but she had just done fine with home physical therapist the day before I took her! Anyway came back, took to hosp. Couldn't find anything wrong dr. Put her in nursing home for physical therapy, she stayed a month! Was all just mental, anyway still paying bills on that mess! Ps wish I could lose 45lb need to start walking like bffparents, I've gained almost that much since giving up job and staying home with mom! Some people don't eat when they are upset, but iam the opposite, I eat when iam upset, emotional eater I guess, anyway thanks for letting me vent and for this website!


over 4 years ago, said...

I wish I had this site when I was taking care of my Mom for 5 years.... venting was the hardest and we all need someone we can lean on. Just remember, this too will pass, then you have to get over the depression and anxiety of their passing and figure out what you will do with the rest of your life. I am a presenter for WisdomFlame.com, a non profit that does how to prepare for or deal with, your caregiving journey.


over 4 years ago, said...

Wait! it is only 64 days until our vacation starts. MIL is going to daughters home for 1month. Boy does SIL going to have FUN. MIL is at the point that when you are talking to her, she is having trouble understanding what we are telling her. MIL is changing faster than we can keep up with her. I know it might not be right for me to feel this way but I hope she drives SIL crazy. SIL's do NOT help with MIL at all, so after a few days they will get to see what we deal with every day. SIL's will call but they do not ever come see MIL, and one lives next door. SIL's keep telling MIL that they wish MIL would pay for them a vacation like she is doing for us.LOL! She told them we have been saving for this vacation but they do not believe it. If they only knew how much we having given up to take care of MIL and how much we have to pay for her meds etc. The way I deal every day is I walk if I get stressed. Since Aug. I have lost 45pounds. It hurts seeing MIL change to a person I do not know. I start my day with a 1hr. walk than if MIL gets upset with me I will go walk again. Some days I might walk 6miles. I have a pair of shoes that have a computer chip in them to keep up with how far I walk. Thanks again everyone for letting me vent on this website.


over 4 years ago, said...

I am at this point. But I am doing something about it! My hubby & I are celebrating 25yrs of wedding BLISS in May. I called a travel agent to see about going to the Sandals in Jamacia and the next thing I know I am working as a travel agent. The Sandals is and ALL inclusive resort. I can not wait! In 75 days starts our retreat. But the


over 4 years ago, said...

I needed this...have felt like I've hit a brick wall - nowhere to go and a sister that lives close by is moving to Australia. So I wiil try some of these! Thank you so much :)


over 4 years ago, said...

I have a great wallpaper/screensaver with LOTS of gorgeous beach snaps from Hawaii! I can dream, and who knows...maybe one day!


over 4 years ago, said...

I use the game idea and now I have gone back to school online. I know I am 32 and I have almost completed my AA kind of seems a waste sometimes. But I always think about the future and when I renter the work force having that degree may help offset the loose of time and help get a better job. Like the venting idea and will be trying it out.