When an older loved one can no longer live independently in their home, many families help by becoming caregivers. The willingness to take on these duties is noble, and an expression of a family’s love. However, it can also be extremely stressful, and lead to what is known as caregiver burnout, fatigue or exhaustion.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a notable sense of emotional and physical exhaustion that results from trying to meet the care needs of an older loved one. There is no set time frame for when burnout occurs. However, when it happens, it can have a great impact on the caregiver’s morale and energy level.
Caregiver burnout can be caused by a variety of things, such as suddenly being thrust into the role without adequate notice or preparation, the inability to stop the progression of a loved one’s illness or decline, a lack of control in decision-making, about care needs, and an overarching feeling of being totally responsible for all aspects of a loved one’s care.
Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
There is no standard set of symptoms when it comes to caregiver burnout, however many people have reported feelings of frustration, depression, exhaustion, lack of motivation, and changes in sleep patterns.
Preventing Caregiver Burnout
Let’s look at 5 ways that will help prevent caregiver burnout.
Talk it Out
Find an understanding friend, minister or therapist who will listen to your concerns about caregiving for a loved one. The very act of venting your feelings to another person can go a long way toward preventing negative emotions from building up in your mind.
Learn all you can about the aging process, and any medical conditions your loved one is living with on a daily basis. Understanding the nature of their situation is very helpful in avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Educating yourself will help you feel less isolated, and provide some perspective that you are not the only one going through this experience with an older loved one.
It is quite common for caregivers to neglect their own self care needs. Be sure to take care of yourself in all areas, physical, emotional, and spiritual. This is essential, as you cannot give to another person unless you have a foundation of strength to draw upon. Don’t forget to eat right, get some exercise, and participate in fun activities that you enjoy.
Find a Community in your area
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Take a Break
Caregiving can be extremely taxing and emotionally charged with complex emotions. Everyone needs a break from time to time, so be proactive about asking other family members to help you in caregiving activities.
If no family members are available, look into an agency that can provide some part-time caregiving assistance, so you can take a step back and get some much-needed rest.
Find a Caregiver Support Group
It is a great relief to learn that you are not alone during tough times in life. See if there is a caregiver support group in your area. Groups like this often meet at libraries or churches.
If you can’t find one in your local town, there are phone meetings and other ways to participate through technology like Teams or Zoom. Sharing your experiences with people going through the same thing can be extremely helpful.
Frontier Senior Living is Here to Help
Despite having the very best of intentions, being a caregiver for an older loved one can be difficult and stressful. The compassionate and friendly staff at Frontier has helped many families find the perfect Senior Living community for their loved one. We have assisted many of our residents’ family members return to being sons, daughters, and siblings instead of full-time caregivers.
If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to take a tour of one of our beautiful communities and visit with our friendly staff.