Are You Feeling Burnt Out?
Caring for an aging loved one can be a rewarding experience, with 9 out of 10 caregivers surveyed saying that even with all the burdens, caring for their loved one is worthwhile, however, it can also take a toll on you if you aren’t able to take a break once in a while. You may start feeling depressed or overtired and begin lashing out. This is burnout, and it can be incredibly detrimental to a senior caregiver if not addressed.
Did you know depression affects 20 to 40% of all caregivers?
At Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Boise, ID, and the surrounding area, we recognize the difficulties that can come along with being the primary caregiver for an ailing loved one. That’s why we’ve created a list of common symptoms of burnout, as well as how you can use healthy coping mechanisms to combat it.
What Are The Symptoms Of Caregiver Burnout?
While there are many signs that can point to caregiver burnout, fatigue and irritability are two of the most common. You may also find that you find difficulty finding meaning being a senior caregiver or perhaps you have less sympathy or empathy than you used to.
Other signs that you are experiencing burnout could include:
Excessive use of alcohol, medications or sleeping pills
Withdrawal from friends, family, and other loved ones
Feeling stressed in the patient’s presence
If you notice yourself beginning to feel this way, it is important to act sooner rather than later. Most often these feelings don’t go away if you ignore them, instead, they become worse and can affect the quality of care you are able to provide for your loved one and yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy coping mechanisms that you can try!
What Can I Do To Cope With Burnout?
Coping is senior caregiver burnout is often a little bit different for everyone. For example, some people find that therapy or support groups are incredibly helpful and allow them to vent about their difficulties in an environment where they aren’t judged, while other people find that picking up a new hobby is enough to take their mind off of their day. As long as what you choose isn’t causing you or anyone else harm, the sky really can be the limit!
Here are a few more ideas to help you get started:
Bring your employer into the loop: Sometimes it can be a good idea to let your employer know that you are providing care for a senior loved one. Some companies have caregiver related programs that offer leave time or flex time. While this isn’t available at every company, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re experiencing burnout.
Find a healthy way to vent your frustrations: For some, this can be a friend who understands the demands placed on a senior caregiver. Others may find it works better for them to write down their frustrations in a private diary or word document.
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.
What If I’m Still Feeling Stressed?
So now you’ve learned a little more about caregiver burnout signs, how to avoid it, and how to cope with it but, what if you still need a little help? This is where Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Boise, ID, and the surrounding area can step in! We offer flexible respite care plans so that you can take a little time to yourself and your loved one still receives the care that they need. Whether you just want a few hours a week to relax or take care of errands without worrying or feel like you deserve a short vacation, we will be there for you and your loved one.
If you’d like to learn more ways you can practice self-care and healthy coping mechanisms as a senior caregiver, if you’d like to learn more about our incredible care team, or if you’re ready to schedule your free care consultation, please contact us online anytime or call us at (208) 357-4595.