How Stress And Fatigue Can Impact Caregiving
As a senior caregiver, you probably already know just how rewarding the job can be. It can help strengthen family bonds, help you learn more about yourself as a person, and give you a sense of satisfaction that you’re doing something good to name a few. Over time, however, being the primary caregiver for your loved one can take a toll on your wellbeing, causing you stress and anxiety along with a host of other potential issues.
Did you know that depression affects 20 to 40% of all caregivers?
Caregiver burnout is a serious issue, with nearly half of adult caregivers saying that it is moderately or very difficult to balance their careers with caregiving. Add caring for your children, paying your bills, making sure you see your doctor for regular check-ups, and it’s easy to see how so many caregivers can end up feeling burnt out and exhausted.
How Can I Tell If I’m Experiencing Burnout?
As a senior caregiver, two of the earliest symptoms of burnout you’ll likely notice are irritability and fatigue. You might also begin noticing yourself feeling indecisive, disconnected, or even guilty that you feel this way at all.
Other signs that you are experiencing burnout could include:
Emotional and physical exhaustion
Feeling pulled in two directions
No matter what symptoms you may be experiencing, the most important thing you can do is start working on helping yourself break out of this mindset. These feelings aren’t likely to go away on their own and may even increase in severity, damaging your health and ability to care for your loved one. Luckily, there are plenty of places to start, including learning new healthy coping mechanisms.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms For Caregivers
While there are many ways to cope with feelings of burnout as a senior caregiver, not all of them will be a perfect fit for you. You might find that journaling provides a healthy way for you to vent any frustrations that you don’t feel comfortable expressing to your friends or family members, while someone else might find that letting their employer know about their caregiving responsibilities along with learning about any potential caregiver related programs their company is involved in can help decrease their stresses.
Here are a few more ideas to help you get started:
Schedule time for your health: While caregivers may spend a lot of time in doctor’s offices, it is often to accompany the senior they care for rather than for their own appointments. One way to combat this is by making your own appointments for regular exams, flu shots, dental visits, and the like at the same time you arrange a loved one’s.
Find ways to exercise: Although it can be difficult to set aside time to exercise, it is one thing that doctors can agree is good for everyone. Finding the time to work up a sweat and get your heartbeat up can go a long way in helping alleviate your stress.
Find a hobby: The sky is the limit here, as long as what you choose is a healthy outlet from caregiving. Maybe you like watching reality TV or perhaps you enjoy a challenging sudoku puzzle or are interested in joining a book club, as long as it takes you away from the caregiving mindset for an hour or two.
What If I Still Need Help?
Now that you’ve learned more about what exactly caregiver burnout is, how to avoid it, and a few healthy coping mechanisms, you may be wondering what you can do if you still need a little more time for yourself. This is where your friendly specialists from Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Cape Girardeau, MO, and the surrounding area can step in! We offer flexible respite care plans, that can also include our other core services such as light housekeeping or Alzheimer’s and dementia care, so that you can have some much deserved “me time”, without worrying about whether your loved one is safe in their home.
If you’d like to learn more healthy ways you can cope with the stresses of being a senior caregiver, our full list of services, including respite care, or what makes Comfort Keepers® Home Care so special, please contact us online anytime or call us at (573) 208-4188. Our agents are available 24/7 to answer your questions and set up your free in home consultation.