What You Need To Know About Caregiver Burnout.
I’m throwing out a lifeline to you!!
I know all about caregiver burnout. Just as soon as I think I’m doing great and mom is doing great then BOOM!
I get this overwhelming feeling come over me not knowing or realizing what happened or when it happened.
It’s a terrible feeling that just floods me. AND I think I’ve experienced compassion fatigue.
What’s the difference between caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue.
Caregiver burnout is when you become physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted.
Family Caregivers who are burned out can and most likely will experience tiredness, pressure, nervousness, and downheartedness also known as depression.
Wikipedia definition: Compassion fatigue, also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time.
Scholars who study compassion fatigue tell us that the condition is common among people who deal with trauma, or illness, especially in the health care industry
A caregiver can have both burnout and compassion fatigue.
Caregiver stress comes with several symptoms:
- Becoming nervous over little things, very irritable and sadness.
- Tiredness and no motivation.
- Not getting a good nights sleep
- Getting overwhelmed at minor situations.
- Health issues more and more.
Know any caregivers experiencing one or more of these symptons?
In 2015 a survey for Caregiving and AARP showed approximately 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months, while 43.5 million provided unpaid care to an adult or child during the same 12-month period.
What is respite care for caregivers?
Everyone needs a break, especially family caregivers caring for an aged parent.
Respite care provides caregivers a temporary rest from caregiving, while the person with Alzheimer’s or other elderly family members who are just old can still be cared for in a safe environment.
Using respite services can both support and strengthen your ability to be the best caregiver.
Respite care is receiving much needed relief from your caregiving duties when you’re looking after a senior loved one who requires much needed monitored care.
It can be something as simple as arranging for a friend to stay with your family member for a few hours while you run errands. Some churches also have Friendly Visitor programs so give your local church a call.
Respite gives you time off from personal caregiving duties while someone else cares for your older parent.
You can call on family and/or friends to come in.
Local nursing homes are available for respite care or you have the option of hiring a private caregiver.
It’s just as important for your aging parent to have time away from you as it is for you to have time away from your elderly parent.
It’s a win win situation.
Check out this AARP article on respite care for caregivers right here.
2 steps that you can take immediately to recover from caregiver stress and not let it get to the point of a burnout.
Go for it…try this.
What do you have to lose?
This is something you can fix.
1. Modify your mindset
What got you to this burnout point is the mindset that caregiving is something that will consume your life.
That it means cutting out anything that’s not absolutely necessary because you’re already so busy.
Recharge your batteries will help you be a better caregiver.
You’ll have more patience, well maybe lol.
You have to work on shifting the attitude.
Here are some ways to adjust your thinking and manage stress:
- Try exercising gratitude. ( I read my meditation book every morning and I’m learning to write down several things that I’m grateful for as I go thru my readings. It does help.
- Talk to a counselor or other family caregivers who know what you’re going thru, only those who’s walked in the same shoes as you will understand.
- Find a caregiver support group like Alzheimer groups. Some local nursing homes have caregiver support groups that you can attend and also contact your local Hospice, they too have a support group. I’ve attended all 3.
2. Here are 4 ways so you can take regular breaks:
- Just take a short walk around the block for 15 minutes.
- I MAKE myself go to Walmart for maybe 20 minutes even if I don’t need anything, just to be around people.
- Put together a caregiving team. Make a list of other family caregivers that you know and ask each of them if you need someone to talk to if they’d be willing to listen.
- I was told to make my mind believe I was an only child, that way if siblings can’t or don’t help you weren’t expecting help anyways. (WARNING: this can be hard to do, but my mentor said this was the only way I could make it thru.)
Know both your needs and your senior parents
- What do you need? A few hours away, once or twice a week? A day away from the house? A day or a night off?
- What does your loved one need? Companionship? Someone to make sure they have something to eat? Cleaning the house? Personal care? Getting to the bathroom? Daily walks? List every job, large and small.
Most often for a short getaways you just need someone to sit and chat about old times with them while you get some much needed time away. Maybe a neighbor.
Click here to go to In Home Personal Care Guide.