Caregiver Stress

While caregiving can be a rewarding and positive experience, it can be extremely demanding and stressful.  Often, caregivers experience stress which over time can lead to caregiver burnout.  This section provides information about caregiver stress and burnout, tips to reduce the risk of chronic stress, support for caregivers and ways to cope with the demands of caregiving.

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Caregiver Stress & Burnout

Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress1

Warning Signs of Caregiver Burnout2

What Causes Caregiver Burnout3

Tips for Avoiding Caregiving Burnout4

For More Information About Stress & Burnout

Caregiver Support

While these tips can work to reduce caregiver stress, research has indicated that caregiver support is an effective way to reduce caregiver stress and the risk of burnout.  It is important to remember to take care of yourself as well as your care receiver. While it may be difficult, asking for help does not mean failure.

Asking for Help

Asking family and friends for help can be a difficult thing to do.  Many caregivers avoid asking for help and attempt to do everything themselves.  If help is available it is extremely beneficial to the caregiver.  Assistance with caregiving may reduce feelings of stress and burden.  It gives the caregiver someone to share their experiences with and may bring people closer together. 

Tips for Asking Family Members or Friends for Help5

How to Build a Support Network6

Coping Mechanisms for Caregivers

While it is important to reduce stress and find support, it is not possible to completly eliminate caregiver stress. Therefore, coping is a necessary component of caregiving. Some coping strategies that caregivers can use to reduce caregiver stress include respite care and humor.

Respite Care

Caregiving is demanding and caregivers need time off from their caregiving responsibilities to relieve stress and prevent burnout.  Although there are different approaches to respite care the same basic objective exists: to provide the care recipient with planned temporary care to allow the caregiver relief from the daily responsibilities of caregiving.

When Respite Care Might Be Considered7

Types of Respite

Choosing a Respite Care Program

While many forms of respite care exist, the quality of care provided by respite services may vary.  Therefore, it is important to check out the facility before leaving your loved one.  Also, it is important to consider your care receiver’s specific needs and to determine whether the respite services you are researching can accommodate these needs.  A list of general questions has been provided as an outline to help determine which respite service may be best for the care recipient. 9

General Questions

For More Information

Humor & Laughter 10
Besides respite care, humor may reduce caregiver stress.  Humor therapy is defined as the use of humor for the relief of physical or emotional pain and stress.  Humor is a coping mechanism that a caregiver may use repeatedly or in the ‘heat of the moment’.  When a situation with the care receiver has gone awry, laughter may be the best medicine.




1. Alzheimer's Association. (2007). Caregiver Stress. Symptoms of caregiver stress. Retrieved on October 21, 2007 from

2. Modnick, Kemp & White. (2007). Are you in danger of burnout? Retrieved on May 17, 2007 from

3. WebMD.Com. (2002). Heart Disease Guide: What cause caregiver burnout? Retrieved October 21, 2007 from

4. (2007). Easing the stress of caregiving. Retrieved October 21, 2007 from

5. Net of Care. (2005). Information & Resources for Caregiving: How to ask for help. Retrieved October 18, 2005 from

6. Brandt, A. (2000). Eldercare Online: Overcoming Negative Emotions. Retrieved October 18, 2007 from

7. Cleveland Clinic Health System. (2005). For your health. Retrieved October 18, 2007 from

8. (2007). Respite Care Services. Retrieved October 21, 2007 from

9. Modnick, Kemp & White. (2007). Questions to ask about respite programs. Retrieved May 17, 2007 from

10. American Cancer Society. (200). Humor Therapy. Retrieved October 18, 2007 from

Caregiver Shortcuts

Assisted Living
Bones, Muscles & Joints
Board & Care Homes
Caregiver Stress
Caregiver Stress & Burnout
Caregiver Support
Choosing A Long Term Health Care Facility
Common Feelings Associated with Caregiving
Communication between Caregivers and Care Recipients
Communication in Caregiving
Communication when Complications Exist
Communication with Health Care Professionals
Condition and Disease
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Coping Mechanisms for Caregivers
Emotions & Caregiving
Emotions and the Caregiving Role
Heart & Circulation
Hospice or End-of-Life Care
Housing & Hospice
Independent Senior Living Communities
Issues with Eating
Memory & Aging
Self Care
Sensory, Motor & Nervous System
Skilled Nursing Homes
Staying in Your Home
Tips to Reduce the Risk of Falls
Urinary Tract
Ways to Cope with Emotional Responses to Caregiving