HOW TO PREVENT BURNOUT AS A CAREGIVER
Burnout in caregivers is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It could be accompanied by a shift in attitude, from positive to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers do not receive the assistance they require, or when they attempt to do more than they are physically or financially capable of.
Many caregivers feel guilty if they spend time on themselves instead of their sick or elderly loved ones. “Burned out” caregivers may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression.
What factors contribute to caregiver burnout?
Caregivers are frequently so preoccupied with caring for others that they neglect their own emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The demands placed on a caregiver’s body, mind, and emotions can quickly become overwhelming, resulting in fatigue, hopelessness, and, eventually, burnout.
Other factors that can contribute to caregiver burnout are:
Many people are perplexed when thrust into the role of caregiver. It can be difficult for caregivers to separate their roles as spouses, lovers, children, friends, or other close relationships.
Unrealistic expectations: Many caregivers believe that their involvement will improve the patient’s health and happiness. This may be unrealistic for patients with progressive diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Lack of control: Many caregivers become frustrated because they do not have enough money, resources, or skills to effectively plan, manage, and organize their loved one’s care.
Unreasonable demands: Some caregivers place unreasonable demands on themselves, in part because they believe that providing care is their sole responsibility. Some family members, such as siblings, adult children, or the patient, may make unreasonable demands on the caregiver. They may also disregard their own responsibilities, placing additional burdens on the person designated as primary caregiver.
Other factors: Many caregivers do not recognize when they are experiencing burnout and eventually become unable to function effectively. They might even get sick themselves.
What are the signs of caregiver exhaustion?
Caregiver burnout symptoms are similar to those of stress and depression. They are as follows:
• Withdrawal from friends, family, and others.
• Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
• Feeling down, irritable, hopeless, and powerless. • Appetite, weight, or both changes
• Sleep patterns change.
• Getting sick more frequently.
• Desire to harm yourself or the person for whom you are caring.
• Physical and emotional exhaustion • Irritability.
How can I prevent caregiver burnout?
Here are some steps you can take to help prevent caregiver burnout:
• Find someone you trust — such as a friend, co-worker, or neighbor — to talk to about your feelings and frustrations.
• Set realistic goals, accept that you may need help with caregiving, and turn to others for help with some tasks. Local organizations or places or worship may provide support groups (either in person or online) for caregivers or family members of those suffering from diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s. These organizations may also provide respite care to allow the caregiver to have time away from the patient.
• Take advantage of respite care services. Respite care provides a temporary break for caregivers. This can range from a few hours of in-home care to a short stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
• Be realistic about your loved one’s disease, especially if it is a progressive disease such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Acknowledge that there may come a time when the patient requires nursing services or assisted living outside the family home.
• Don’t forget about yourself because you’re too busy caring for someone else. Set aside time for yourself, even if it’s just an hour or two. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity for caregivers.
• Talk to a professional. Most therapists, social workers and clergy members are trained to counsel individuals dealing with a wide range of physical and emotional issues.
• Know your limits and be honest with yourself about your personal situation. Recognize and accept your potential for caregiver burnout.
• Educate yourself. The more you know about the illness, the more effective you will be in caring for the person with the illness.
• Develop new tools for coping. Remember to lighten up and accentuate the positive. Use humor to help deal with everyday stresses.
• Stay healthy by eating right and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.• Accept your feelings. Having negative feelings — such as frustration or anger — about your responsibilities or the person for whom you are caring is normal. It does not mean you are a bad person or a bad caregiver.
• Join a caregiver support group. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others in the same situation can help you manage stress, locate helpful resources, and reduce feelings of frustration and isolation.
Ultimately, going for training can help you be prepared to better cope with the various demands of the job.
Join us for our caregiver training courses to give yourself all the tools you need to cope with acting as a family caregiver.
Next class will be held:
December 1st-2nd, 2022 – Caregiver Training
December 3rd, 2022 – CPR And First Aid