Why Is It Important To Talk About Caregiver Burnout?
When an elderly loved one decides to receive care within his or her own home, a family member often prefers to act as the primary caregiver. While this situation is usually ideal, situations arise in which a senior caregiver can begin feeling mentally, physically, or emotionally overwhelmed. This is called caregiver burnout.
Did you know at least 20% of adult children are taking care of an older parent and of that 38 % report a “highly stressful” caregiving situation?
At Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Wallingford, CT, and the surrounding area, we know that you want to provide the best care you can for your loved one so that they can remain in their home rather than “a home”. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most common symptoms of burnout along with several coping strategies you can try!
What Does Burnout Feel Like?
There are many signs that a senior caregiver is experiencing burnout but, two of the most common are irritability and fatigue.
Other signs that you are experiencing burnout could include:
Feelings of alienation, helplessness, or hopelessness
Feeling pulled in two directions
Lack of energy to do new things
If you begin to notice yourself or a loved one experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to act quickly to make changes that will help bring your life back into balance. Unfortunately, these feelings aren’t likely to go away if you just ignore them and may even become worse. So, what can you do about it?
Coping Mechanisms For Burnt Out Caregivers
There are many ways that you can cope with burnout in a healthy way as a senior caregiver, the key is finding which methods work best for you! Some people find that keeping an active social life is the best way for them to let go of the caregiver headspace at the end of the day, while others prefer journaling as a private way to vent their frustrations.
The sky truly is the limit here so, in order to help you get started, here are a few more healthy coping mechanism ideas:
Ask family/friends for help: Enlist the help of family members when you are feeling down or burnt out. This will give you time to relax and help your family better understand your needs as well as that of your senior loved one. Be sure to express gratitude, even a few dollars, a gift card, or an evening at a restaurant go a long way towards showing that you appreciate the help.
Listen to your body: If your body is tired, let yourself rest. It may be a good idea to take a vacation or “staycation” if you can. Even a night away from your responsibilities can do wonders for you!
Educate yourself about your loved one’s condition: Learning how to best manage your loved one’s conditions can be immensely helpful in decreasing stress. Some hospitals or local organizations may even offer classes to help you learn. For example, if you care for a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia, learning how memory works and the way dementia progresses can help you better understand what your loved one is communicating if they’re having difficulty.
Are There Any Other Options?
Now you know a little more about caregiver burnout and how to cope with it but, what if that doesn’t work? What should you do if you’re still feeling tired and burnt out? Well, a good place to start can be with a call to Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Wallingford, CT, and the surrounding area! Our care plans, including respite care for overtired primary caregivers, are flexible enough to suit nearly every need. Whether you want a few hours a week to yourself or want to recharge with a short vacation, one of our caregivers will be there for your loved one. Our goal is to ensure they are happy, healthy, and safe in their home so you can take any time you need to be sure you are happy and healthy as well.
If you’d like to learn more about how to avoid burnout as a senior caregiver, all of our available senior care services, or if you’re ready to schedule your free in home consultation, please contact us online anytime or call us at (203) 457-3159. Our operators are available 24/7 to answer any questions you have.