For months now you’ve been taking care of your aging in place elderly mother by yourself. At first everything was going well, but lately you’ve felt tired, rushed and irritable. Mom has noticed the change, and so have your spouse and kids. Now your job performance is suffering, and your boss is starting to lose patience. Is it possible that you’ve got a case of “caregiver burnout”? If so, don’t feel ashamed, because thousands of caregivers experience caregiver burnout every year. Fortunately, there are several proven ways to identify and avoid the condition.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Many caregivers, notably those caught up in the “Sandwich Generation”, get so busy caring for others that they don’t take care of themselves. The daily or weekly demands placed on a caregiver’s mind and body can eventually seem overwhelming, causing fatigue and feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and frustration. Other factors that can cause caregiver burnout include:
- Lack of situational control
- Unreasonable demands and expectations
- Role confusion, i.e. the child has now become the parent
- Not listening to your body when it’s tired
Caregiver burnout typically presents with one or more of these signs:
- Feeling down, irritable, helpless and hopeless
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Getting sick more often
- Emotional and physical exhaustion throughout the day
- Noticeable changes in eating habits, body weight or both
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Abusing alcohol and other stimulants
- Not sleeping well
If you are currently experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have caregiver burnout.
Preventing Caregiver Burnout
You’re not going to be any good to your loved ones if you’ve got caregiver burnout. Fortunately, feeling recharged and refreshed is possible when you use these steps:
Share Your Feelings
Seek out someone you can trust, like a friend, coworker or neighbor, and share your frustrations and feelings. This could even be a professional therapist, clergy member or social worker.
Set Realistic Goals
If your loved one has a terminal illness, no matter how hard you try their condition is still going to worsen. Focus on making them more comfortable so that they can enjoy the rest of their life, and celebrate small victories with them each week. Also, set realistic goals for each day based on your limitations.
Take Care of Yourself
Exercise, eat right, sleep 7 to 8 hours every day, get an annual physical and spend some “me” time doing activities you enjoy. Take precautions so as to avoid caregiver injuries. Don’t neglect relationships with your spouse and children, as those are the most important ones of all!
If mom has a serious illness, learn all you can about her disease so that you will be a more efficient and effective caregiver.
Join a Support Group
Find a caregiver support group in your community where you can share your feelings with others who are in the same boat, and to obtain some ideas on how to provide better care for your loved one.
Accept Your Feelings
It’s natural to have negative feelings, like frustration and anger, about the situation and the person that you’re caring for. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but rather that you’re only human.
Get Outside Assistance
Contact your siblings or other family members to see if they can give you a break. Check into local senior assistance resources, like transportation, meals, housekeeping or senior daycare. You can also consider hiring a professional respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency.
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Massachusetts
Caring for an elderly loved one is highly rewarding, but it can also be time-consuming, stressful and exhausting. When you feel the onset of caregiver burnout, call Cranberry Home Care. As a family owned and operated agency, our highly trained and carefully screened respite caregivers can step in and provide your aging in place senior with the nurturing care they deserve. Our caregivers are fully licensed and insured for your protection, and all our family trusted services can be flexibly tailored in an affordable package when and where you need them.
At Cranberry Home Care, we provide a portfolio of in-home amenities like light housekeeping, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders, companionship and transportation. To learn more about why Cranberry Home Care is quickly becoming the go-to choice for families in Southeastern Massachusetts, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for a senior today, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!