Caregiver Stress

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

PD 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).

Coping Skills for Care Partners

Published by the Parkinson’s Foundation, 2020

This 2-page fact sheet emphasizes that the Parkinson's care partner role can last decades so self-compassion is a needed skill. It outlines several self-care practices to employ to minimize stress and care for one's own health.

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.

Taking Care of the Caregiver: How To Prevent Caregiver Burnout

By Anita Rosen.  Published by

This short webpage addresses the challenges a care partner faces as PD progresses, with suggestions on managing stress levels.

General Caregiver Stress Resources

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.

Caregiver Stress

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

Caregiver Stress

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.

Caregiver Stress

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

Part of's Caregiving Resource Center, this site provides an in-depth look into identifying the symptoms of caregiver burnout, as well as coping strategies.

Conscious Self-Care

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 December 2023 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach