Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
by D.R., Placement Student
When an individual is caring for a loved one and is experiencing physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, they are experiencing burnout. This can lead caregivers to experience anxiety, depression, and fatigue. This burnout can occur when caregivers do not get the help they require or if they are attempting to take on more responsibility than they can. Caregivers tend to feel guilty when they take time for themselves rather than caring for their loved ones, leading to caregiver burnout. It can be challenging caring for a loved one, but individuals should consider ways caregivers can avoid caregiver burnout.
Caring for a loved one can be difficult in and of itself. Caring for someone who has a disease or chronic illness can pose its own set of challenges. It has been found that caring for an individual with dementia can require long care hours. Additionally, it has been identified that caring for an individual with dementia can be more complex than caring for someone with a physical disability. This is not to say that caring for someone with a physical disability is easy, instead, caring for someone with dementia has different challenges.
To identify if someone is experiencing caregiver burnout, there can be some symptoms that can be identified. Some of these symptoms can include distancing yourself from friends, family, and other loved ones, losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, and feeling more irritable, blue, helpless, or even hopeless. Other symptoms can include seeing changes in appetite or weight, or even both, and changes in sleep patterns. Individuals can also get sick more often when experiencing caregiver burnout. It is essential to recognize these symptoms as they can be a critical indicator that you are experiencing burnout.
So, how can a caregiver prevent experiencing caregiver burnout? Some ways can include venting to someone you trust about your feelings and frustrations, setting realistic goals and accepting that you sometimes may need help caring for your loved one, taking time for yourself and practicing self-care, and even talking to a mental health professional. These are all ways to minimize the risk of experiencing caregiver burnout or can even reduce the amount of burnout an individual is experiencing.
Many resources offer services to help with caregiver burnout. Some places that may provide information about such aids and services are home health services, Long-Term Care Homes, National Organizations, and various agencies related to aging.
Whether you are caring for someone with a chronic illness or disease (like dementia or a physical disability) or caring for someone without a disease or condition, it is vital to recognize the warning signs of burnout. Before identifying and looking out for these warning signs, it is essential to take time for yourself and ensure that you’re not caring for your loved one every waking moment of your day. While this may be difficult to do, it is crucial to have someone to be able to lean on and vent to about the feelings and frustrations you may be experiencing. This can help immensely reduce the burnout one feels and minimize the risk of experiencing burnout.