Just Peachy, or Burnt Toast? A Caregiver Burnout Self-Assessment

Mar 21, 2016

Just Peachy, or Burnt Toast? A Caregiver Burnout Self-Assessment

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You may have heard the term caregiver burnout a few times, but what exactly is it? And what are the signs? According to WebMD, caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude—from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.

Assessing Caregiver Burnout

Essentially, symptoms of caregiver burnout mirror those similar to depression, which is why caregiver burnout is not to be brushed aside, despite a caregiver’s moral obligation to care for a friend or loved one. If you are beginning to feel stressed, depressed, or irritable, it may be time to take a simple questionnaire to determine whether or not it’s time to take a break or seek outside help.

There are a few things to look out for if you fear you are nearing caregiver burnout. For each question, rate the level in which you agree.

  • 5-Highly agree
  • 4-Somewhat agree
  • 3-Unsure/Indifferent
  • 2-Somewhat disagree
  • 1-Disagree

Carefully read over the following questions, and answer accordingly on a scale of 1-5. Once you complete the questionnaire, add up the numbers and see your results. Are you holding it all together, or is it time to admit you could use some help?

During the past month you have:

  1. Felt unable to leave my friend or relative alone
  2. Found yourself unable to get a good nights rest
  3. Been unable to keep up with day-to-day chores
  4. Withdrawn from friends, family, and interests
  5. Noticed changes in weight and appetite
  6. Felt irritable or blue
  7. Been sick more often than usual

1-9—Just peachy. Bravo caregiver! You have caregiving right under your belt, and you maintain healthy boundaries between your health and the wellbeing of whom you care for. Perhaps you could pass on your tips to other caregivers that may be feeling the burn.

10-15—So far, so good. You are doing a pretty good job balancing your own needs with the needs of those whom you care for. You are providing the right amount of care without sacrificing your own needs and well-being. However, if you answered 5 or 4 for some of the questions, it’s best to address those symptoms now before they worsen.

15-21—Feverish. It is no secret that you are feeling stressed, and you are doing everything in your power to keep it together. However, you may want to take a break from caregiving before you are completely burnt out and suffering from more severe symptoms. Plus, since it’s still early, it should be easier to address the symptoms in which you need help with.

Score: 22-35—You’re burnt toast! Goodness! You are sure feeling the strains of caregiver burnout, but golf claps for finding the time to take this quiz. Although it is evident that you only want to provide the best care, it is time to put yourself first and seek proper help because your health is at stake. There are some great suggestions on how to help yourself below.

If you are burnt toast or feeling feverish, don’t fret. Here are some suggestions about the next steps to take to take back your life.

  • Consider seeing a doctor for a wellness checkup
  • Look into options for caregiver relief
  • Take time to see a therapist
  • Join a caregiver support group

And when in doubt, SeniorCaring is always here to help you find relief through senior care options to assist you and your loved one.

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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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