Tips for Family Caregivers Living with Chronic Pain

Caring for an elderly loved one or acquaintance might be a selfless and respectable endeavor. Caregiving may be rewarding, but it can also be difficult and aggravating at times. Caring for others can cause "physical and psychological strain over extended periods of time, is accompanied by high levels of unpredictability and uncontrollability, has the capacity to create secondary stress in multiple life domains such as work and family relationships and frequently requires high levels of vigilance." Some caregivers may have physical, emotional, and mental health issues as a result of caring for a loved one, regardless of their overall health.

But what about those who have chronic pain and also care for loved ones?

The stress of caring for a loved one increases when you are coping with your own chronic pain as a result of an illness. When you're dealing with chronic pain, it may be particularly challenging to prioritize your own needs above those of your loved ones.

When it comes to caring for a senior loved one while dealing with chronic pain, caregivers in Canada have a lot of options that can make their responsibilities less stressful. You can still take care of your loved one without putting your needs on the back burner if you try these solutions.

What is Chronic Pain and How Can It Impact Family Caregivers in Canada?

A recent research found that almost 19 per cent of adults in Canada have chronic pain. But it's important to know what chronic pain is and how it can affect people who care for someone with it.

You could be dealing with chronic pain if your symptoms persist after 12 weeks of treatment, even after the original injury has healed. When compared to acute pain, chronic pain may continue for a long time after an illness or injury has healed. Chronic pain is a symptom of several disorders, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve damage, cancer, and others. A variety of symptoms, such as physical discomfort, disturbed sleep patterns, and emotional ups and downs, are linked to chronic pain.

Caring for an elderly loved one is challenging for any family caregiver, but it's very difficult for those dealing with chronic pain. While the symptoms are bad, it might be hard to help a family member with things like getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or cooking.

Additionally, the emotional and mental impacts of living with chronic pain may impede caregiver responsibilities. Anxiety and restlessness are common symptoms of chronic pain, and not getting enough sleep may worsen your condition and make it harder to accomplish things like getting a loved one to the doctor or picking up a prescription from the pharmacy. Another possible side effect of chronic pain is a lack of patience, irritability, and even resentment toward those you care about most. Having to deal with chronic pain while also providing care for a loved one may place a strain on your relationship that could last a long time.

Caregivers coping with chronic pain must, therefore, educate themselves on how to best assist their loved ones without jeopardizing their own well-being. Prioritizing your own needs and happiness makes it easier to take care of others around you.

How to Make Caregiving Easier for Family Caregivers with Canada with Chronic Pain

Caring for another person while dealing with your own chronic pain may be really challenging. Fortunately, you're not alone. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of ensuring the health, safety, and comfort of an elderly loved one, building a support system and making time for yourself may help.

Focus on Your Own Health

When your chronic pain becomes too hard to bear, talk to your doctor about ways to alleviate it without limiting your capacity to care for other people. Some people get relief from the stress associated with their disease via medication, while others find relief through alternative treatments such as massage or acupuncture.

Keeping a pain journal is another helpful practice. Keep track of when and how bad your flare-ups are, as well as any correlations between certain foods or activities and when they occur.

Prioritize Self-Care

Prioritizing self-care for those with chronic pain is essential since it has the potential to boost mood and reduce the likelihood of pain flare-ups. Taking regular breaks from caring for other people is essential for your energy and concentration.

Consider your hobbies and the things that bring you joy; for example, keeping a journal, getting a massage, or preparing a special dinner might be great ways to relax. Another simple approach to take care of yourself is to go for a brief stroll in the park or to get an extra half an hour of sleep. If you want to show a loved one how much they mean to you, beyond just being someone you have to take care of, try doing something you both like. Your loved one is an essential part of your life and deserves your admiration and respect.

Find a Support Group

Finding a community of caregivers who share your experience with chronic pain may be an incredible support system. You may find it helpful to look into local support groups or join an online forum if you're coping with chronic pain while caring for an elderly loved one.

Ask Others for Help

In order to care for a loved one, you may need to depend on other people at times. In the case of severe pain episodes or while scheduling a medical visit, this is especially important to keep in mind.

When dealing with the stresses of caring for an elderly loved one, it might help to lean on trusted friends and family for emotional support. Tell them exactly what help you need, and they will be ready to provide it to you when you need it. If you or a loved one are experiencing pain flare-ups, it may be beneficial to ask your siblings to do errands or drive someone to an appointment. You may always ask a neighbor to keep a watch on a loved one if they are having trouble sleeping due to chronic pain problems.

Hire a Professional Caregiver from Senior Home Care by Angels

You can count on Senior Home Care by Angels for in-home care for your senior loved one if you don't have any close friends, relatives, or neighbors who are able to help out. In addition to assisting with daily duties, our caregivers will closely monitor your loved one, keep you informed about their progress, and alleviate any stress you may be experiencing. That way, you can focus on taking care of yourself without worrying about the health of your loved one. For over 20 years, we have been Canada's go-to for trustworthy, high-quality senior care.

Our caregivers help older adults with:

Contact your local Senior Home Care by Angels office to learn how our caregivers can give you peace of mind.

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