What Is Caregiver Burnout?
As a senior caregiver, you know that there are many rewards to the work, from getting to know your family member better to the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping a loved one stay in their home rather than “a home”. But what happens if you start to feel tired or stressed out and aren’t able to rid yourself of those feelings? It could lead to a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion known as caregiver burnout.
Did you know Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health conditions are more stressful for caregivers than dealing with physical ailments?
At Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Hazelton, PA, and the surrounding area, we know how hard it can be to deal with feelings of burnout. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most common signs that you may be experiencing burnout as well as ways you can cope with it!
What Are The Signs Of Burnout?
There are many signs that you may experience as a senior caregiver that point to burnout but, feelings of irritability and fatigue are two of the most common ones.
Other signs that you are experiencing burnout could include:
Lack of energy to do new things
Losing control physically or emotionally
Changes in appetite, weight, or both
If you notice that you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is critical you take action sooner rather than later, as they will likely become worse over time. There are many ways that you can do this but, finding healthy coping mechanisms that work for you can be a good place to start!
Coping Mechanisms For Burnt Out Caregivers
With so many strategies for coping with senior caregiver burnout, it can feel overwhelming at times to find the best one that works for you but, the key is to keep trying. What helps someone else let go of their frustrations may not work for you and that’s okay! For example, you might find that adding watchdog technologies to your loved one’s home, such as medical alert jewelry or a timed medication dispenser, gives you enough extra time to relax and offers assurance that your loved one is safe. Other people, however, may prefer to ask family or a friend to step in for an evening or two so that they can catch up on other responsibilities and relax.
In order to help you get started, we’ve put together a list of common healthy coping strategies to try:
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.
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.
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.
What If Coping Mechanisms Aren’t Helping?
So, you have a little more knowledge about senior caregiver burnout and how to cope with it but what should you do if you’re still experiencing symptoms? Well, one option you might want to try is respite care. With Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Hazelton, PA, and the surrounding area, you can choose a respite care plan that works for you and your loved one. This way you can take the time you need to recharge your caregiving batteries while being assured that your loved one is able to be happy, healthy, and safe in their home.
If you’d like to learn more about how Comfort Keepers Home Care can help you avoid feeling burnt out as a senior caregiver, if you’d like to find out more about our full list of services, or if you’re ready to schedule your free in home consultation, please contact us online anytime or call us at (570) 483-8913.