How do I Avoid Caregiver Burnout?
If you are a caregiver or know of one, then you know about caregiver burnout and that it is very real and can make you sick and sometimes even kill you. It can be an emotional rollercoaster that never seems to end.
Some of the emotions experienced are depression, anger, loneliness, anxiety, and sadness, just to name a few.
There are times when being a caregiver is a wonderful and beautiful experience, but it is extremely taxing on a person’s physical and mental well-being. Especially those who have loved ones dealing with Alzheimer’s. The pandemic made things so much worse for everyone, as we were all stuck inside with each other 24/7 and couldn’t go to a store or a restaurant for a break.
Check out this video of our very own Rose speaking to caregivers and prioritizing your own care.
@roseassistedlivingguide Whether you care for a loved one or you care for others, make sure to put yourself first 🧡⭐️ #nationalcaregiversday #caregiver #senioradvocate #aging ♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre
On TikTok? Come connect with us and watch more on Caregivers Support Systems.
Caregiving can be especially hard when you are caring for your parents. They are the ones who always took care of you and now you have to take care of them.
You remember them as fearless, strong, and independent; now they’re dependent on you for everything. If they still have their mental capabilities, imagine how THEY feel having to depend on you. They go through stages of shame and humility. This is the LAST thing they want as well.
Let’s first discuss some causes of burnout:
- Demand on you and your time: the caregiver has to learn how to juggle, caring for the loved one while working a job, taking care of a household, and raising a family. Those who have never been in your position won’t understand. Support groups will understand, find one in your area or online.
- Lack of control you may feel you have: you may feel you lack the skills needed to properly care for your loved one. You may also feel you lack control over the money and resources needed.
- Unreasonable demands: other family members and the one being cared for have tendencies to place unreasonable demands on the caregivers. They do not do this purposely, they just don’t understand the demand on your time. Support groups will understand, find one in your area or online.
- Confusion over your role: if you are caring for your parents or spouse, it may be difficult to separate your role from child or spouse to caregiver.
- No privacy: caregiving leaves little time to be alone, so you may feel you have no privacy whatsoever. Caregiving is a 24/7 job and will take its toll on you, that’s why it’s extremely important to find some downtime.
- Expectations placed on you: your loved one and family members place expectations on you that are more than likely way off base. Let your family know you cannot do it alone and their support will help you immensely.
Should you feel yourself becoming agitated at your loved one, please seek help!!!
There are support groups out there, the internet is a valuable resource to find what you’re looking for. PLEASE use it!!!
What are some warning signs of caregiver burnout:
It’s so easy to lose your patience when caring for a loved one and lash out at them and at others. So what do you do when you feel yourself reaching that breaking point?
Each individual is unique, so the warning signs can vary, but here are some of the common signs. Again, if you notice yourself having any of these signs, PLEASE seek help!!
Anger, frustration, exhaustion, anxiety, depression, denial about your loved one’s condition, more susceptibility to colds/flu, can’t concentrate, irritability, trouble sleeping, moodiness, and no interest in social activities.
Finally, here are some tips to avoid caregiver burnout:
First of all, the most important thing is YOU. Without you where would your loved one be? Be sure to take some time for yourself! Don’t feel guilty for having someone else come in for a short time to relieve you.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, twenty-thirty minutes a day to do something for yourself can make all the difference in the world. Do a crossword puzzle, sit outside or on a porch and just breathe, sip a cup of tea or coffee, or just sit quietly in another room. Taking these few minutes a day can save your life.
Taking time for yourself will do your heart and soul so much good and it will enhance your and your loved one’s life.
- Join a support group: this is extremely important!! You can gain so much insight from others going through the same scenario you are and the support they provide is amazing!!! These groups can lift your spirits and help should you have a problem you need to work through, someone may have had the same problem and already have the solution. Assisted Living Made Simple holds three (3) of these groups a month! We are here for you!!!!
- Look to the internet: there are so many resources for help. The Alzheimer’s Association has a wealth of information on its site at www.alz.org. The AARP website is another great resource for help, they’re at www.aarp.org. There are also local Council on Aging who may be able to direct you to some resources.
- Take care of YOUR health: make sure you get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of water. Try to eat healthier and make regular doctor visits. Talk to your doctor about any caregiver concerns or issues you may have.
- Take a break: try to find someone to fill in for you, even if only for an hour so you can take a walk, watch a movie, or go for a bike ride. If you need more structured care, look for a respite program. Some communities have put them on hold due to COVID-19, but let’s hope they come back real soon.
If you are a caregiver and feel like you are burning out, PLEASE seek help immediately!! I cannot stress this enough!!
Sometimes even a phone call to a friend for a few minutes can help.
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