Family Caregiving Stress

Providing ongoing care to a family member with chronic or disabling conditions can be incredibly difficult. Family caregiver stress occurs when a caregiver becomes so focused on the needs of their loved one (in this case a family member) that they aren't aware of their own well-being. Symptoms of caregiver stress include irregular sleep patterns, fluctuations in weight, and feeling overwhelmed, tired, irritable or constantly worried. To manage family caregiving stress, it can help to seek support from others that are in a similar situation (e.g. a support group), or work with a professional to practice self-care, set realistic goals, set boundaries, and learn to accept help. If you are experiencing the stress of caring for a family member, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s specialists today.

Meet the specialists

Caregiver stress, anxiety, & burnout is real. Caring for a sick or elderly loved one is a 24/7 job, with no sick days and no vacation days. It often requires a crash course in navigating the health care system, dealing with insurance companies, and communicating with doctors to effectively advocate for your loved one. I have spent countless hours counseling family caregivers who are maxed out, physically and emotionally. I'm here to tell you that you don't need to do this alone.

— Sara Kerai, Licensed Professional Counselor in Washington, DC

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I believe that family work is just as vital as individual work when struggling with issues in the home. I work with clients typically for one hour, once per week, and that is quite honestly not enough time to make changes quickly and efficiently when working with family stress. I will be thoughtful in my recommendations on the most effective means for therapeutic growth. And that may translate to me asking for the vital supporters in a client’s life to join in sessions so that there may be ongoing work throughout the week in between sessions. This treatment resembles me supporting the caregiver so they can in turn support the client. This includes “homework” assignments and tasks to complete, and a variety of ways that the session is conducted, sometimes with the client alone, sometimes with the caregiver alone, and sometimes all together. As always, the goal is for a reduction in stress and a healthy functioning family.

— Christy Livingston, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Healdsburg, CA

As the mother of an adult child with autism, I have made it my life’s work to help other parents with the stress that accompanies caregiving. Parents and caregivers have unique needs that need to be addressed by others that understand the high demands placed on them. I help people learn how to set healthy boundaries, manage stress and how to find time for self-care.

— Janeen Herskovitz, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Whether it's your child, spouse, or other loved one, taking care of someone with chronic pain, illness, and/or disability can put an enormous strain your physical and mental health. I can offer insight into your loved one's experiences and provide guidance on how to improve his/her quality of life as well as yours. You have been the pillar of support for so long. If you will allow it, I will help share your burden.

— Meg Hrivnak, Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

As a personal caregiver and mental health clinician I have a personal and professional understanding about the challenges of family caregiving. Most family caregivers lack the support necessary to thrive in their caregiving role. Many caregivers report being completely unprepared for their new responsibility which can lead to mental and physical health issues for the caregiver. I teach coping and self care tools as well validate your unique experiences.

— Nichole Prince, Marriage & Family Therapist in Long Beach, CA

I work with families of individuals with disabilities. I understand the unique challenges that come with this role.

— Amy Jackson, Counselor in Summerville, SC

Parenting a child with special needs can feel very isolating. There is a common language that is spoken by special needs parents, because we share life experiences. When it comes to special needs parenting, grief and the challenges of life that come with those things – I speak fluently. If you are in a place where you need help and support in finding hope for your future and that of your child’s or simply finding your path, contact me for an initial consultation.

— Lori Crowley, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Orinda, CA

Adult children who fail to launch or who fall back into the nest after setbacks can be impossible to dislodge without help. With careful, strategic planning, I help you help your child to grow up and assume their rightful place in society with confidence. You need new skills and new ways of communicating to ensure that this launch sticks. I'm here to help with that.

— Andrea Rogers, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

There are two big components of Family/Caregiver Health: good communication and the ability to forgive. I have specialized training in what can be the difficult process of forgiving, as well as being forgiven. I also have specialized training in nonviolent communication methods. And sometimes the caregiver, or family member, just needs a private place to say all of the "awful things" that they don't think anyone else wants to hear, or should. I am happy to feel the anger, be grossed out about the icky stuff, and laugh at the foolishness with you!

— Susan Rooney, Counselor in Portland, OR

I work closely with parents to help teach them the skills necessary to practice self-care and support family members at home.

— Elia FABIAN, Counselor in Berwyn, IL

I have experience from my own life, as well as from assisting many clients through the stressors of caring for family members who are aging, ill, have dementia, or are in assisted living situations. I understand the unique pressures, conflicted feelings and overwhelmingness that can accompany these situations.

— Jill Christenson, Counselor

Throughout my career and research on caregiving stress, it has become apparent that there are many giving people in the world. The problem is many givers tend to be terrible receivers. So many spend their lives taking care of others, leaving themselves feeling tired, depressed, anxious, or even overwhelmed. I have developed tools to help caregivers bring balance back to their lives to help manage the stress of caring for others.

— Crystal Deichert, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Aurora, CO

Whether your perspective is that of a child, parent, caregiver, or all of the above, the experience of being part of a caregiving unit is going to require a great deal of patience, good communication skills, diplomacy, anger management, forgiveness, goodwill and love. It's a tall order. We all need help.

— Susan Rooney, Counselor in Portland, OR

Many relationship issues develop due to the stress and burden of caregiving for someone in need. I can assist partners struggling with caregiving stress and help them understand and address the pressure this places upon the relationship itself. Partners can then have more connecting ways to provide care while also nurturing their relationship.

— Aviva Chansky Guttmann, Social Worker in Kingston, NY

Often care giving for a loved one falls on one person. It is my hope to provide support to you as you manage and balance this. I have experience aiding those whose loves ones have chronic medical concerns, terminal illness, or mental health diagnoses.

— Monica Cagayat, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Woodinville, WA

When you make tough life choices to care for children, a spouse, or parent, you may feel like you're entering into uncharted territory. Maybe you've changed jobs, stepped out of paid work, ended relationships, ended hobbies, moved, or are facing an identity change. I have done all these things, and felt unprepared for the stress of caregiving. I help with role-identity, self-care, boundary setting, feminism and social justice issues in family caregiving.

— Rachel Duncan, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Denver, CO

In addition to personal experience as a caregiver, I have worked with family caregivers who provide care for older adults for nearly 30 years. Caregiving is a tremendous challenge, so I offer free caregiver workshops to provide support and resources. Past clients include caregivers for older adults living with dementia, intellectual and physical disabilities, and life-limiting illnesses.

— Pamela Kuras, Counselor in Benson, NC