5 Things You Can Do To Cure Caregiver Burnout

Mar 21, 2016

5 Things You Can Do To Cure Caregiver Burnout

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Caring for a loved one day in and day out can be draining. Providing around the clock care can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health, and once you’ve reached complete caregiver burnout, it may be hard to bounce back to your old self. Caregiver burnout, according to WebMD, is experiencing physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Even worse, the burnout can lead to a change in attitude, causing the caregiver to become less caring and more negative about the situation.

Managing Caregiver Burnout

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and with some acceptance of the situation and some simple solutions, you can begin healing from the burnout.

  1. Find a caregiver support group. Caregiving can come with some strange emotions; frustration, fear, sadness and at times, even resentment. Although, you may be surprised how many others are in the same boat as you. A support group will allow you to share your story, in addition to learning various coping strategies. Sometimes, it is a relief simply to have a listening ear to share your feelings and experiences with.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If possible, look into varying caregiver responsibilities with other family members, or ask for help with simple tasks around the house to lessen the load. If homecare is proving to be more than you can handle, or it simply doesn’t match your lifestyle, talk to your family about taking your loved one to respite care. It is okay to ask for help, and if you bite off more than you can chew, you’re not only risking the health of your loved one, but also becoming the one who needs cared for.
  3. Make time for “me time”. This could be anything from a massage, movie, or meditation. Essentially, it’s good to get into a weekly routine that is entirely your own so that you are in complete control. The idea behind “me time” is to relax, because there is no sense being stressed and worried all the time. “Me time” also sets out a specific time every week for self-reflection, which is important for personal growth.
  4. Talk to a doctor about any specific issues you may be facing. It will be beneficial to have fresh eyes examine both your physical and mental wellbeing and develop solutions to caregiver burnout. Plus, the doctor may recognize additional symptoms that you were not previously aware of, like a weakening immune system or high blood pressure.
  5. Set personal health goals. Whether this is establishing a good sleep routine, doing 30 minutes of cardio each day, or making a conscious effort to eat healthier, your mind and body will thank you for making these healthy decisions. If your body is happier, you’ll be happier.

If you’re a caregiver who has suffered from the infamous burnout, or you’re well on your way there, these five things will help lift you back up in to the positive and caring person that you are.

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Frequently Asked Questions

My sister has been the primary caregiver for our father for the past year and has recently become apathetic. What can I do?

Apathy in one common sign of compassion fatigue and is common among those who work in the caregiving industry. While it is different than burnout, many of the signs and symptoms are similar. If you are able, try to alleviate some of your sister’s responsibilities by filling in and allowing her to practice some self-care as well. Also, do not be afraid to point her in the direction of a caregiver support group. There are many great resources available to help with compassion fatigue.

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My father has lived in the same house for over 50 years, so he's reluctant to leave. How do I talk to him about moving to a senior care community?

When people grow attached to a familiar setting, moving to a senior care community can be a difficult subject, especially when caregiving is involved. To avoid excessive stress for you and your loved one, there are ways to bring up "the move" to elderly parents. Remember to remain honest and address any concerns your father may have. Prepare yourself for resistance. 

Have you checked out our Is It Time to Seek Senior Care Checklist? This resources will help you decide if it really is the right time for your senior to move out. This may be something that you want to bring to a meeting with your senior to show them some reasons why it may not be safe for them to live independently anymore.

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