© 2017 Upward Care, LLC  
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
1380 Pantheon Way
San Antonio, TX 78232
Sep 18

Caregiver Stress


Hi Russell, Thank you for being available for questions. I am caring for my wife who was diagnosed with Alz a few year ago. I know many people in my support group go through times of stress. As the disease progresses I am doing more and more. I've heard about caregiver burnout and researched it some.


But do you have any tips on how to handle caregiver stress?

Mark, great question, and thank you for your care for your wife.


Tips to reduce Caregiver Burnout

By Russell Gainer, LCSW


Because 60% of Caregivers will die before the patient due to stress and self-neglect (not taking meds or seeing their doctors), a Caregiver MUST make THEIR needs and self-care a priority. Like the airline industry says, “In an emergency, place the oxygen mask on yourself FIRST before assisting others in need.” This is not selfish, it is an imperative. If you become impaired, you cannot engage as a caregiver and then YOU become a patient and need someone to help you!


The biggest thing is to Ask for help. Many well-meaning friends and family will often say, “If there is anything I can do, just let me know,” and in that moment, everyone experiences an awkward pause. The Caregiver because they are thinking, “You have NO idea how overwhelmed I am – which of the many things can you help with?!”, and the asker is thinking, “Just don’t ask something I can’t do!” Because people WANT to help, we need to make it easy for them.


1) Make a List – take a pad of post-it notes, write single tasks on each sheet and post these to the fridge (mow the lawn, replace the batteries in the smoke detector, replace the AC filters, change the sheets in the guest room, etc.). When the question is asked, direct them to the fridge and say, “Thank you so much! There is a list of things I just can’t get to; please take your pick - and I really appreciate your asking!”


2) Make a schedule – using a calendar, identify 3 dates - one afternoon each week, one evening each week and one weekend each month. Mark these as TIME OFF and suggest your family and/or friends choose a date which fits their schedule and sign up to give you the Time Off from your care giver duties. Use the break to get your chores done, run errands, pay bills or just stay away. You may not leave the house, but just sequester yourself away for a little R&R.


3) Set Boundaries and limits – you cannot do it all! One of my favorite quotes is, “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” Know your personal limits and ask for help before you reach the point of no return.


4) Plan ahead – there are many miles ahead on this journey, let’s plan for the trip! This is a marathon, and not a sprint, you will have to pace yourself and get support. Invite friends and family to join in a discussion about what’s coming. You may not know the answers, but this will prompt you and your support system to begin searching for the answers. To the best of your ability, identify the following Mile Markers. What will it look like when this time comes? How will I/we know when it is time to take this step? How will I/we respond to each?

a. When will the patient need to stop driving?

b. When paid CG’s will be used?

c. When (and not if!) will facility placement will occur?


5) Get Outside Help – there are many sources for support; The Alzheimer’s Association, the Area Agency on Aging, Caregiver Support Groups, a Counselor, Elder Law attorneys, a Geriatrician, an Aging Life Care specialist, and others. Using these resources will help you to plan and navigate the course ahead.


Overall, know you are not alone, there are many others on similar paths, and many people and agencies willing to provide direction, support and assistance. A wise person seeks the counsel of others and does not journey alone. Safe Travels!

Great info Russell!


Mark, hopefully that helps.

New Posts
  • We currently have a nurse/caregiver coming to our home once a day, 5 days throughout the week. She is meant to help my mother-in-law take her medication and do general check-ups. My husband and I both work and have a teenager to care for. She tells us that the woman is very mean to her and treats her like a child she doesn't want to deal with. To my husband and I, the woman is very professional and kind. She keeps insisting we get someone else but no one else is currently available for the schedule we need. Is there a way around this? Will we have to find a new care provider through a company? This nurse comes from the local hospital.
  • I hate to say this but my mother's mental health has gotten worse over the last few months and it has gotten to the point where I am becoming very frustrated. I snapped at her the other day and now I feel awful. She doesn't really even remember what happened but she was in tears over the ordeal. I feel a constant pressure to remember things for her while trying to remember my own things and my own children's things. I feel as if I have another child on my plate. I don't want to get like this. Is there a way to handle the frustration without taking it out on her? I know this is not her fault.


Russell Gainer, LCSW

Co-Founder - GainWel



  • Mental Health

  • Dealing with Grief

  • Family Dynamics

  • Caregiver Burnout

Marie Hoffman, RN, BSN

Lead Instructor

  • Nursing Skills

  • Personal Care

  • Education and Training

  • Caregiver Skills Training


Tim Montfort

Financial Adviser - Raymond James



  • Retirement Planning

  • Wealth management

  • Estate Issues

  • Longevity Planning

Leanne Chaloupka, OT

Occupational Therapist


  • Home Health/ Hospice

  • Rehabilitation

  • Aging in place

  • Adaptive Care

Laura McGuire

Co-Owner - Griswold Home Care



  • Introducing Home Care

  • Aging in Place

  • Resistance to Care

Carol Bertsch

Elder Law Attorney



  • Advance Directives

  • Power of Attorney

  • Medicaid considerations

  • Estate Planning


Byron Cortes, LCSW, CMC
  • Care Management

  • Needs Assessment

  • Crisis Intervention

  • Placement Management

  • Family Caregiver

  • Estate Planning

  • Advance Directives


Family Caregiver, Elder Law Paralegal


Toni O'brien


The medical, legal and financial information contained on this web site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. 

We love to help, that is why we are here! But... Questions related to specific legal, financial or medical issues can only be be answered in general terms. If more detail is needed you can contact the professional directly for a consultation or meeting. 

Read the full disclaimer HERE