More than 65 million Americans act as part-time or full-time family caregivers. As more elderly adults need help with personal care due to physical and mental limitations, more demands are placed on family caregivers to cope with the responsibilities.
The stress of caregiving can lead to numerous physical and mental health issues if it is not properly managed. One way that stress takes a toll on family caregivers is via emotional overeating. April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, so it is an excellent time for family caregivers and others to see if they are falling into the trap and what they can do about it.
There are many different causes of emotional overeating in family caregivers, but it all comes down to chronic stress and caregiver burnout. Being a caregiver to an elderly adult is hard enough, but far too many people try to do it all on their own. It is critical to get some support as well as enjoy some regular breaks. Many people hire senior care assistants to step in and provide some care for the elderly person so the family caregiver can have some respite.
Without healthy stress management techniques, family caregivers may turn to unhealthy methods that include emotional overeating.
Here are some of the warning signs of emotional overeating in family caregivers:
- Feeling tired, sluggish and worn out.
- Resenting caregiving duties and frequent frustration.
- Devoting most or all spare time to caregiving.
- Social isolation and infrequent interaction with family and friends.
- Ceasing regular exercise and activity.
- Change in eating habits, such as more fast food.
- Reduction in homemade meals and snacks.
- Binge eating, or consuming a lot of food at least once per week or more.
- Recent weight gain.
- Feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment about eating habits.
- Poor health due to lack of nutrition.
It’s easy to see how spending too much time as a family caregiver can result in emotional eating. Even though overeating provides a temporary respite from negative feelings, it doesn’t last. Also, it creates even more problems for the family caregiver. That’s why it’s so important for family caregivers to get regular breaks and time off from their responsibilities. Senior care agencies can provide professional assistants that are trained to care for elderly adults. It’s the ideal solution for family caregivers that need to get more balance in their lives.
Family caregivers need to take matters into their own hands and put their own health and wellness as a priority. Otherwise, they are more likely to succumb to unhealthy stress management methods, such as emotional overeating. When family caregivers are looking out for their physical and mental health, they are better caregivers to the elderly relatives who need them most.
If you or an loved-one are considering professional senior care in Bensalem, PA, talk to Unlimited Staffing Solutions. Specializing in Home and Community Based Support Waiver Services Since 2001. Please Call Us for Your Home Care Needs (215) 447-713