How Burnout Can Affect Caregivers
Choosing a senior caregiver can be extremely rewarding for both you and your loved one, but life can get a little crazy and leave you feeling a little burnt out at times. With everything you have to deal with, from balancing a career to helping your children with their homework, it is critical to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout and fatigue. This is when a caregiver suffers from mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion. To help raise awareness of caregiver burnout, we've compiled a list of early warning signs, as well as ways you can practice self-care to combat them.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Burnout?
There are numerous signs that point to senior caregiver burnout, but irritability and fatigue are two of the most frequently mentioned early ones. You may also notice that you've been losing sleep despite feeling exhausted, or that you've been getting headaches more frequently.
Other signs that you are experiencing burnout include:
- Appetite, weight, or both changes
- Loss of control, either physically or emotionally
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and other people you care about
If you begin to notice any of these symptoms, it is critical that you take action to restore balance to your life as soon as possible. Unfortunately, ignoring these feelings will not make them go away, but learning new healthy coping mechanisms is a great place to start taking action against burnout.
What Are Some of the Ways I Can Deal With Burnout?
Learning how to cope with burnout as a senior caregiver is one of the most important skills you can acquire, but it can take time to find the right method. What works for someone else may not work for you, and that's okay. For example, some people may find that maintaining an active social life helps them get out of the caregiver headspace at the end of the day, whereas others may find that exercise helps them let go of their frustrations. The key is to stick with it and continue to take care of yourself because you deserve it! Here are a few more suggestions to get you started:
- Schedule time for your health: While caregivers may spend a lot of time in doctors' offices, it is usually to accompany the senior they are caring for rather than for their own appointments. Making your own appointments for regular exams, flu shots, dental visits, and the like at the same time as a loved one's is one way to combat this.
- Educate yourself about your loved one's condition: Understanding how to best manage your loved one's condition can be extremely beneficial in reducing stress. Some hospitals or community organizations may even provide classes to assist you in learning. For example, if you care for a senior with Alzheimer's or dementia, understanding how memory works and how dementia progresses can help you better understand what your loved one is communicating if they are having difficulty communicating.
- Seek professional advice and/or support groups: While it can be difficult to find the time to meet with a therapist or counselor, it can be extremely beneficial for many people. Support groups may also be available in your area; inquire with local hospitals or places of worship about meeting dates and times.
You now have a better understanding of caregiver burnout and how to deal with it if you are experiencing it, but what happens when that isn't enough? That is when you should contact Comfort Keepers Home Care of Milwaukee, WI and the surrounding area! We provide flexible respite care plans, as well as a wide range of other senior care services. Whether you need a few hours a week to run errands, go to doctor appointments, and other important tasks, or you want to take a short vacation to recharge your batteries, one of our caregivers will be there for your loved one so you can be confident they are happy, healthy, and safe in their home.
If you'd like to learn more about why you should choose Comfort Keepers, our full list of care services, or how to avoid burnout as a senior caregiver, please contact us online or call us at (910) 390-1656. Our agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and schedule your free in-home consultation.