Five Signs a Family Caregiver Needs Extra Support

You have noticed the fatigue, quick temper and frequent canceling of social plans. Should you be worried about your friend who is a family caregiver? When is it time to step in and offer help?

Here are five signs a family caregiver needs help and support from others. These signs are often linked, so you will most likely notice more than one. This will give you a clear picture that extra help is needed:

  • They don't look healthy - Have you noticed that they constantly look tired? It could be as simple as their hair looks unkempt and clothing is not ironed or even washed. 
  • Anxiety, irritability, depression - This may partly be because they are not taking care of themselves. It can also be because they are simply overwhelmed by the constant level of care they need to provide.
  • Overreliance on alcohol and drugs - Alcohol and drug abuse is very common amongst family caregivers looking for a way to cope.
  • Social withdrawal - When is the last time you have seen them? Ask if they have been getting out at all. 
  • Changes in weight and appetite - Eating less is a clear sign they aren't taking care of themselves or don't have time to think about themselves. Loss of appetite is often linked with stress.


If you have seen any of these signs, then it is time for a family caregiver to receive help. Here are a few ideas on how to help:

  1. It's time for a reset and reassessment of care. Your family caregiver is overwhelmed and it's time to take control of the situation to achieve better quality of life for the caregiver AND the person being cared for.  Our Needs Assessment Guide is a great tool to re-evaluate the care needed. 
  2. Have you looked into Government support? Depending on the care needs your local LHIN may be able to offer some care that will help the family caregiver cope with caring for a loved one. For more information on how to deal with many of the financial implications of seeking outside help for homecare, read our guide here.
  3. Get family involved. Our Right Conversation Guide has a worksheet called the Family Action Planner. You can download it from this page. It will help you and your family assign chores or time to be spent with the person needing extra care. 
  4. Lastly, at Right at Home we fill the gap in care between what government support provides and family support provides. Call us for a free assessment at (343) 688-0976 to speak to one of our Care Planners. We can come in for as little as 2 hours to give a much needed break. You can read about some of our service offerings here. Even if you are not quite sure you need extra support, our Care Planners are well versed in local resources and can help guide you in making these difficult decisions. 
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