A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need. Other terms are "care partner," "carer," and "caretaker." Caregiving can be both rewarding and stressful. Caregiver stress can arise when a person is so focused on the needs of the person being cared for that the person's own physical and emotional health are neglected.
As a caregiver, you're more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. You may not get enough sleep, exercise, or eat a balanced diet — which increases your risk of health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Consider, who will help the person you care for if you suffer a stroke or other health crisis which prevents you from doing all you do for them?
Here are some resources -- for caregivers to those with Parkinson's disease (PD) and for all caregivers -- to understand caregiver stress and how to make changes to your daily routine to manage or reduce the stress.
PD Caregiver Stress Resources | General Caregiver Stress Resources
15 Actionable Ways to Practice Self-Care
Published by the Parkinson's Foundation
Self-care is defined as any practice that relieves stress and encourages a healthy mind and body. This short webpage lists 15 realistic ways you can implement self-care, from the practical (diet, exercise, sleep, respite) to the more esoteric (reflect on the rewards of caregiving, accept your feelings, and formulate a life plan).
Dealing with Parkinson's Disease Caregiver Stress and Burnout
Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, September 21, 2015
This webpage provides tips to help lessen the burden of caregiving for a person with Parkinson's.
How to Manage Stress as a Parkinson's Caregiver
Published by the Parkinson’s Foundation
This Caregiver Corner blog post covers the five fundamentals of Parkinson's caregiver stress as well as tips for managing with a daily action plan.
Taking Care of the Caregiver: How To Prevent Caregiver Burnout
By Anita Rosen. Published by ParkinsonsDisease.net
This short webpage addresses the challenges a care partner faces as PD progresses, with suggestions on managing stress levels.
14 Life-Changing Tips to Relieve Caregiver Stress
Published by CaringBridge, August 24, 2018
This blog post on caregiver stress is one of many posts to the caregiving section of the CaringBridge website as part of its mission to "build bridges of care and communication providing love and support on a health journey."
Care Partners and Self Care Throughout the Journey
By the World Parkinson Coalition, March 2021
This 1-hour webinar is broken into three parts:
Self-care: What does it mean, and will it really help?
Yes, you really can weave self-care into your life: Start with self-compassion, and
How to realistically include self-care in your life when there is so much going on.
You must register to access the archived video but it is free. After registering, return to the same page and click on, "View the archive."
Webinar Notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog
Caregiver Burnout: Steps for Coping With Stress
Published by AARP
Based on surveys and research, this blog post explains the causes of caregiver burnout, and the physical and mental impact it can have.
Caregiver Self-Assessment Tool
Published by the Parkinson's Foundation, 1990
This one-page self assessment has 12 areas of self-care to rank on a 5-point scale. Doing a self assessment at regular intervals to identify your risk factors and shed light on your needs. Share your assessment with friends and family so they can better understand your scope of caregiving. This may lead them to become more engaged in caring for the person with Parkinson's, or to support you in other ways.
Published by the Alzheimer's Association
This webpage addresses the difficulties of caring for someone with Alzheimer's or other dementia, including ways to avoid burnout
Published by the Parkinson's Foundation
Recognize the warning signs of caregiver fatigue before it leads to clinical depression. To prevent caregiver fatigue and burnout place your own physical, medical and emotional needs on equal par with the person with Parkinson's. Start by recognizing your own feelings, speak up, accept help, manage your stress, get professional help if needed, be open with family and friends. Take a brief caregiver stress inventory and make a caregiving action plan.
Published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health
This short webpage addresses the fact that women are especially at risk for the harmful effects of caregiver stress, including depression or anxiety. Ways to prevent or relieve caregiver stress are suggested.
Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
Published by the Mayo Clinic
This webpage speaks to the rewards and difficulties of caregiving, and addresses that people who experience caregiver stress may be vulnerable to changes in their own health.
A Caregiver's Guide to Coping with Stress and Burnout
Published by Caring.com
Part of Caring.com's Caregiving Resource Center, this site provides an in-depth look into identifying the symptoms of caregiver burnout, as well as coping strategies.
By Duke Health, October 2021
Geriatric social worker Bryan Godfrey speaks for 30-minutes about stressors a caregiver might face, and how self-care can prevent burnout. A high-stress environment combined with unrealistic expectations will lead to burn out. By contrast, lowering the stress in your environment, which involves saying “no,” having realistic expectations, and practicing proactive self-care, can lead to growth.
Registration is required, but is free.
Session Notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog
How Much Should Family Caregivers Sacrifice?
Ethics in Society, Stanford, January 30, 2020
Larissa MacFarquhar, staff writer for The New Yorker, moderates this 1-hour panel discussion around, How much should a partner, spouse, or adult child sacrifice to be a caregiver? What if the person who needs the care was a bad spouse or parent? How do different cultures think differently about these questions? Of particular interest is the concept of developing an "exit plan" to caregiving.
Self-Love: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Published by WellMed Charitable Foundation, February 24, 2022
In this 1-hour webinar, James Huysman, PsyD, LCSW, discusses the importance of having self-love, compassion, and kindness for yourself as you navigate the caregiving journey. Dr. Huysman provided tips and strategies to achieve self-love, find self-kindness, and reduce stress.
Strategies for Coping with Caregiver Stress
Published by AgingCare
Geared towards caregivers of older adults, this post clearly explains the signs of caregiver burnout and provides strategies for controlling caregiver stress
Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers
Published by Family Caregiver Alliance
Like the name suggests, this website's focus is on caregiving for family members. This publication offers advice to caregiver burnout such as setting goals and seeking solutions. It is printer friendly or available to order online for $3 per copy (shipping included).
Who Me, I'm Just Stressed Out: When Caregiver Stress May Be Anxiety, Depression, or Both
By Wellmed Caregiver Teleconnection, January 10, 2022
In this one hour teleconference recording, Laura Wolfe, PhD, talks about the differences between stress, anxiety, and depression, how to know when feeling overstressed may be anxiety or depression, and how anxiety and depression are diagnosed and treated.
Last updated August 2020 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach