Important Things You Should Know About Caregiver Burnout
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 Twin Falls, 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.
How Do I Know If I’m Experiencing 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:
Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
Losing control physically or emotionally
Excessive use of alcohol, medications or sleeping pills
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!
How Can I Cope With Caregiver Burnout?
Finding the right coping mechanisms that work for you can sometimes be a time-consuming process but, it is important to keep trying. Remember that what works for one person may not necessarily work for you. For example, maybe you loathe exercising more than recommended by a doctor but, another senior caregiver might find that exercise helps them literally work out any frustrations that have built up during the day. The important thing to do is continue trying and take care of yourself!
Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
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.
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 Burnt Out?
Now you have a little more information about senior caregiver burnout but, what if you are still experiencing symptoms even after trying healthy coping methods? Well, a good place to start may be respite care from Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Twin Falls, ID, and the surrounding area. With our flexible care plans, you can choose the amount of time you need to help bring your lofe back into balance, from a few hours a week to a few days for a short vacation. No matter how much time you need, one of our caregivers will be there for your loved one, helping to provide happiness, safety, and security for both of you.
If you’d like to learn more about why you should choose Comfort Keepers Home Care, our full list of care services, or if you’d like more information on burnout and how to avoid it as a senior caregiver, please contact us online anytime or call us at (208) 874-0664. Our agents are available round the clock to answer your questions and schedule your free in home consultation.