Welcome to Module 2, Session 2

Caregiver Support for 3 F’s of Flipping Out

Step 1 of Caregiver Support for the 3 Fs of Flipping Out

Watch Intro to the 3 F’s of Flipping Out

Introducing caregivers to the 3 F’s of Flipping Out: Fatigue, Fear and Frustration.

The first step is Awareness. Caregivers get angry with the disease, with their care receivers, with the medical community, insurance companies, siblings, friends, and children. Writing down the the specific reasons you are angry will help relieve stress by identifying the problem and providing a safe way to release negative emotions.

The second step is acceptance. There are a lot of complex problems involved with caring for a person who is aged, chronically ill or disabled. Depending on the relationship you had with your care receiver before you became his/her caregiver will impact your experience. Sibling rivalries, finances and your own mental, physical and emotional health play a big factor. Accepting that there are a lot of complicating factors that make caregiving emotionally exhausting as well as physically tiring, will help provide perspective.

Step number 3

Watch: “Fatigue”

How Fatigue Contributes to Caregiver Anger and Burnout.

Sleep deprivation and fatigue can have a devastating impact on a caregiver’s mental and physical health. When a people don’t get enough sleep, their ability to think and reason is seriously impacted.
Extreme fatigue can lead to poor decision making, erratic behavior, depression, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Without adequate rest, caregiver burnout is difficult to avoid.

Everyone will experience a restless night once in a while, but if occasional sleeplessness becomes chronic insomnia, a doctor needs to be consulted to see if it’s a medical problem for which there is a medical solution. If caregivers aren’t sleeping at night because their care receivers can’t sleep, respite care may be the answer.

It’s important to recognize that getting enough sleep may play a more critical role than even food and water in a caregiver’s ability to think and function. There is no substitute for sleep. The only cure for sleep deprivation is sleep.

Step Number 4

Watch: “Claudia Robs a Bank”

A Caregiver’s Whacky Plan to Get Some Rest.

Caregiver Speaker Elaine K Sanchez, www.EKSanchez.com, talks about how extreme fatigue can lead to caregiver burnout. Elaine incorporates humor into her keynotes and workshops to make her point about the importance of caregiver self-care.

Claudia’s story is funny, but it indicates how desperate caregivers can get when they are exhausted.

Watch: “Claudia Robs a Bank, the animated version.”

Funny story about a caregiver’s alternative plan to assisted living facilities

Based on a whacky scheme a caregiver shared with author and speaker, Elaine K Sanchez, Claudia’s plan to rob a bank plan reveals how desperate caregivers can become for rest and respite care.

Mental, physical and emotional exhaustion leads to caregiver burnout. If caregivers don’t have access to respite care and they aren’t getting adequate rest, they are prone to making decisions. Claudia’s story is funny, but it indicates how important it is for caregivers to get a little rest and relieve from their caregiving duties.

Step 5

Action Step - The 3 F's of Flipping Out

Watch: “Fear”

Strategies for helping caregivers manage fear and anxiety.

Family caregivers fear how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last and how much it’s going to cost. Healthcare workers fear making a mistake that will cause further harm to their care receivers. They also fear getting hurt, other people’s anger and losing their jobs. All types of caregivers fear death, even when they know it is inevitable and they are eager for the suffering to end.

Caring for aging parents, individuals who have Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s and other types of progressive and degenerative diseases, is incredibly difficult and there are a lot of unknowns. This video offers caregivers a strategy for facing fears and for developing a plan of action if the worst possible thing that could happen does happen.

Action Step - Getting Started

Watch: “Frustration”

Strategies for helping caregivers manage stress and frustration.

When caring for aging parents, individuals who have Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or some other progressive and degenerative disease, it is inevitable that caregivers will experience frustration. Most caregivers get frustrated over not being able to control the disease. They get stressed out over the behavior of other people and the fact that there is cure for the diseases that are causing their loved ones to suffer.

Action Step - Getting Started

Caregiver Fatigue, Fear & Frustration – The 3 F’s of Flipping Out

Caregiver Fatigue: Caregivers often reach a point of physical, mental, and emotional tiredness that most people can’t even begin to perceive. If you are experiencing exhaustion on any or all of these levels, it will be critically important for you to find a way to get some rest.

Tips for dealing with caregiver fatigue:

  • Set aside some time for yourself each day to do something you enjoy. Let your care receiver know that this is your time and you do not want to be disturbed.
  • Join a caregiver support group. Sharing your stories with other caregivers can release tension, provide a safe environment to express negative emotions, and let you know that you are not alone on this journey.
  • Seek respite care. If you don’t have family or friends who can provide relief, enroll your care receiver in an adult day care program.
  • Some of these programs are free; some are based on income and your ability to pay. Non-medical home care agencies can send someone to your home who will act like “the other daughter”. These people will run errands, do light housekeeping, provide companion services and help with non-medical activities of daily living.

Fear is described in the dictionary as an unpleasant emotion that is caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or harm. As a caregiver, you know the disease or the injury is there and it can feel like the boogie man in the closet or the monster under the bed. Family caregivers fear how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last, or how much it’s going to cost. And you aren’t at all sure that either one of you is strong enough to handle it.

Strategies for coping with caregiver fear:

Write down the the things that frighten you the most.
Ask yourself: “What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?” Determine if your fears are based on:

  • Events that are likely to happen
  • The worst possible thing that could happen
  • Things that may never happen

If you know that the worst thing that could happen will happen, and if there is
nothing you can do to control the events or change the outcome, take charge by
making an action list of things you need to do in order to get prepared.

If you decide that the worst thing that could happen may not happen, you may want to
lessen your emotional stress by choosing to release your feelings fear and focus on
finding the pleasure and joy in the moment.

Frustration

We live in a time when we think there should be a solution for every problem and a cure for every disease. When we are caring for individuals who have progressive and degenerative diseases, it’s only natural that we’d feel frustrated because every new day brings a new challenges and complications for which there are no answers or solutions.

Strategies for coping with caregiver frustration:

Take a break and get some physical exercise. Go for a walk, run, or bike ride. A quick
trip to a gym or an exercise class can help blow off steam. If you can’t get away for
more than a few minutes, go outside and breathe in deeply.

Feel the fresh air fill your lungs and expand your abdomen. Breathe in deeply for a
count of eight seconds. Hold it for eight seconds, and then blow the air out through your
mouth for a count of eight. Repeating this deep breathing exercise several times will
help release toxins from your body, elevate the oxygen in your blood, lower your blood
pressure and reduce stress.

Find a safe place to express your feelings. Call a friend, go to a support group meeting,
talk to your clergy or set an appointment with a mental health professional. People who
bottle up their emotions are more vulnerable to angry outbursts and depression.

The important thing to remember that self-care is not selfish. Taking a break from the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of caregiving will provide you with the energy you need to continue doing what has to be done.

Nothing will eliminate caregiver anger – because there are just too many issues for anyone to deal with to stay calm all of the time. But when you invest a little time and energy in your own care, you will likely have more patience and energy to give your care receiver the time and attention he/she needs.