What Is Caregiver Burnout?
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.
What Are The Signs Of Caregiver 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:
Changes in appetite, weight, or both
Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
Changes in sleep patterns
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.
What Are Some Ways I Can Cope With Burnout?
There are so many ways that you can cope with caregiver burnout that sometimes it can be overwhelming to get started. The important thing to remember is that not everything will be right for you and it may take time to find the coping mechanism, or mechanisms, that help you the most. For example, some people find that setting up watchdog technology for their senior, such as medical alert jewelry or a timed pill dispenser, can take away a lot of their stress. Take the time to decide what’s best for you because you deserve to relax!
Here are a few more ideas to help get the ball rolling:
Maintain your social life: Maintaining an active social life as a senior caregiver can be difficult, but it is rewarding. Make time to call or text just to check-in and schedule time together when it’s available.
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.
Seek professional guidance and/or support groups: While it can sometimes be hard to find the time to sit down and speak with a therapist or counselor, it can be incredibly helpful for many people. Support groups may also be available in your area, you can try checking with local hospitals or places of worship for meeting dates and times.
What If I’m Still Feeling Stressed?
At Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Wilkes-Barre, PA, and the surrounding area, we know that you love your senior and want to provide the best care for them but, you have to take care of yourself too. While it is true there are many healthy coping mechanisms that you can try, sometimes it just isn’t enough and that’s okay. If you’re still feeling burnt out, it may be time to consider respite care. With respite care from Comfort Keepers, you can take the time you need to recharge your caregiving batteries while feeling secure in the knowledge that your loved one is being cared for by one of our highly trained, compassionate caregivers.
If you’d like to learn more about Comfort Keepers Home Care serving Wilkes-Barre, PA, and the surrounding area, our incredible care team, or if you’d like more ideas for ways you can cope with the stresses of being a senior caregiver, please contact us online anytime or call us at (570) 970-7800. Our operators are available 24/7 to answer your questions and schedule your free in home consultation.