Caregivers are patient human beings who are willing to put a pause on their lives to care for an elderly loved one who is in need. You never think if they get tired or ever need to take a break, as known as caregiver burnout. Those who are assisting their loved one also don’t believe there is any support for a caregiver, but this is further from the truth. Family and friends should be there for their loved one who is a caregiver, so they won’t be in distressed all the time.
The act of caregiving is not as easy as it seems, it is an emotional and mental job, and they often have to hide their feelings not to look selfish.. We appreciate every caregiver for what they do and for being selfless.
Defining Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout associated with anxiety, depression, heightened emotions, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, and more. Many of these consequences from ignoring your emotional and physical needs can be chronic, as caregiving is sometimes a lifetime responsibility. However, caregiver burnout is not healthy. It’s also an unhealthy environment for your disabled loved one.
Many habits such as eating well, sticking to an exercise routine, and putting an hour a day aside for the personal time, can be worked into your daily routine. Simple tasks that assure your health is being taken care of can keep caregiver burnout at bay and create a happier home for yourself and your disabled loved one.
Signs of burnout
These are the typical signs of caregiver burnout:
- Feeling tired and run down
- It seems like you catch every cold or flu that’s going around
- You feel helpless and hopeless
- You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available
- You’re constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking a break
- Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction
How to Tell if a Caregiver Needs Help
This job cannot be done well if you’re not first taking care of yourself. Family caregivers are selfless; more than half of caregivers report ignoring their health to take care of the health of a loved one. So, it’s up to close family members to keep an eye out for these signs that your family caregiver needs some assistance.
To complete all their caregiver duties, some family caregivers may start to ignore their own health needs. About 53 percent of caregivers say their health declined from stress, which impacted their ability to take care of their disabled family member.
A family caregiver under stress may also start to deny the seriousness of their loved one’s disability, believing one day they will get better and be able to take care of themselves again.
If your family caregiver is starting to deny themselves basic healthcare needs and deny the seriousness of their loved one’s disability, it may be time to start looking into caregiver services for seniors or disabled adults.
Changes in emotion quickly
Family caregivers, especially those new to the position, face a lot of change and may not know how to cope with it all at once. One minute they may feel optimistic and ready to take on the world, the next they might feel overwhelmed and depressed thinking of the future.
About 29 percent of family caregivers admitted to having a hard time controlling their emotions. Some caregivers may manifest emotional instability by switching between starvation and binge eating or sleeping too much or too little.
If you notice a family caregiver close to you experiencing hard time controlling their emotions and balancing their life, it would be wise to offer some caregiver support.
Avoid social interaction
A family caregiver’s lack of social engagement may be motivated by the fear of leaving their disabled family member with someone else, guilt for taking a night off, or social withdrawal from depression. Whatever the reason may be, withdrawing from social situations or hobbies could spell bad news for a caregiver.
If you haven’t seen your caregiver friend or close family member around lately, it’s worth it to pick up the phone and give them a call. If they are having a hard time balancing personal time and caregiver duties, they could benefit from caregiver services for disabled adults or elderly.
Guide to Recover from Caregiver Burnout
Sometimes caregiver burnout can sneak up on you slowly. You may not recognize when you need a break. If family members and friends have noticed that you seem short-tempered or aren’t spending enough time with your partner or other family members, you may need to take a break. You may also be getting sick more often than you usually do, due to ignoring your own health needs. You may also experience weight gain or weight loss and feelings of lethargy.
Find caregiver support
Join a support group, communicate with family members, and reach out to your friends. When you become a caregiver, it’s essential to create a network of support early on. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask for help when you begin to experience caregiver burnout or need a break.
An essential part of creating a secure network of supporters is not to be a control freak. After being a sole caregiver, it may be hard to give up some control and allow others to help out but if you are too controlling, family members, friends, and support groups may be more hesitant to help you.
Focus on your needs
If you’re not in optimum health mentally and physically, you can’t care for your disabled loved one as well. Take control of your own health by reducing stress. It’s important to have a plan in place for reducing stress and attacking a problem before the stressors of problems arise.
Set goals you can accomplish every week, month, and year to reduce stress for yourself and your disabled loved one. When a problem arises, find a solution and try it out.
Worrying accomplishes nothing but instead diminished your mental health. Be sure to recognize and respect your emotions. They’ll tell you when you need to take a break or try a new approach.
Give yourself the praise and recognition you deserve. Caregiver burnout may also arise from feeling underappreciated or overlooked. Find ways to appreciate yourself. Be kind to yourself; recognize that you are human and you’re doing the best you can every day.
De-stress from Caregiving
Everyone gets a little stressed from time to time. Those who work as caregivers tend to experience more stress and at higher levels. In fact, a recent survey by the American Psychological Association reports that caregivers of the elderly tend to be more chronically ill and report feeling more stress than average. These extreme levels of stress can lead to poorer health and aggravate chronic health conditions.
Even a short meditation session can lower anxiety. Meditating is a great way to step back from the daily grind and focus on the present moment. It helps balance breath, increase sleep and decrease agitation. If possible, try to take 5-10 minutes a day to meditate alone.
Physical activity is known to be good for both body and mind. If you are not the type of person who can sit down to meditate for 10 minutes, getting in some exercise is a great alternative form of meditation. Exercise also helps lower stress and anxiety. Plus, it’s been proven to improve mood through a natural release of endorphins to the brain.
Caregiving can be a difficult job, and it’s important to seek the support you need. Social support is just as important as setting aside alone time. It gives you the chance to open up and talk about your feelings and challenges you face as a caregiver, which probably many other caregivers face as well.
This one many seem like the least helpful of all suggestions listed. But, in fact, it is the most important to practice. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Many caregivers are so focused on their loved ones; they forget to take care of themselves. Practicing basic healthy habits, like getting enough sleep, maintaining a proper diet, and taking time for yourself, will go a long way. Actively prevent stress and it will be easier to manage it in the long run.
Nevada Adult Day Healthcare is Here to Prevent Caregiver Burnout
Adult day care support for caregivers is found in our various location. We provide your loved one with nursing services to help you with caregiving. Contact us today to see our services!