National Family Caregivers Month – Five Signs of Stress You Must Watch For

November is National Family Caregivers Month. If you’re a family caregiver, your health is important. It’s easy to become stressed when you devote time to caring for an elderly parent. Do you know how to identify when stress is becoming too much?

Caregiver in East Grand Rapids MI: Five Signs of Stress

Caregiver in East Grand Rapids MI: Five Signs of Stress

Digestive Issues.

Stress may make you eat more than normal. You may not want to eat at all. As your food intake changes, it may lead to gas and bloating. You might find yourself dealing with excess amounts of stomach acid, which leads to diarrhea.

Mood Changes.

When you’re stressed, you may be irritable and agitated. You’ll lash out at someone, and that reaction is often excessive for the situation. You may find yourself feeling tense and anxious. Depression is another concern when you’re stressed. You may simply feel blue, but for some, it can build into depression.

Muscle Tension.

Muscle tension is common when you’re stressed. You may not even notice that you’re tensing up and causing the muscle pain and discomfort. One way to avoid muscle tension is by sitting or laying down. Tense muscle groups one at a time until they’re as tight as you can get them. Relax them completely and move to the next group.


Have you ever been worrying about something or feeling frustrated and experienced what feels like your heart skipping a beat? It’s terrifying. It may be a longer pause between normal beats that ends with a couple of fast beats or two rapid beats that lead back to the normal rhythm.

See your doctor and make sure there’s nothing else going on with your heart. You may be advised to wear a Holter monitor for a few days to see how your heart functions. Note when you’re particularly stressed or doing something strenuous.

If nothing is found, it can simply be stress. If you find yourself experiencing a skip-a-beat, stop and relax. Yoga breathing or meditation may help alleviate the stress. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and cut back on alcoholic beverages, too.

Stress Headaches.

Stress headaches usually hit in a band over the forehead and around the head. It will feel like someone is squeezing the head. These headaches are actually related to muscle tension. In this case, it’s the muscles in the neck and scalp that are tense.

Don’t ignore your own needs. Self-care is the most important aspect of family caregiving. Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month by taking a day to focus on yourself. Professional Caregivers make it possible to take a day off without leaving your parents alone.

If you or someone you know needs help with caregiver services in East Grand Rapids, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.

About Dan Gauthier

Dan Gauthier has a long and successful business pedigree. He spent his college years working in the restaurant business and worked in various executive management positions at Universal Forest Products, Inc. over a span of 17 years, and Therm Technology / Family Safety Products for 12 years.

When the recession hit in 2008 Dan was “downsized” from UFP and spent a few years consulting for local companies Amway and Cascade Engineering. During this period Dan’s in-laws were experiencing catastrophic health problems and it required Dan’s wife Marion to focus full time on caregiving for her mother. Marion enlisted help from a local home care agency and it did not go well. This experience led to the creation of Gauthier Family Home Care, a home care agency that is uniquely holistic and family centric. Dan now works full time running GFHC.