How To Prevent Caregiver Burnout
While caring for an older family member whether it be a spouse a parent or grandparent – can be a rewarding experience, it can also be a difficult and overwhelming task. This is especially true if your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia – related illnesses. This is why many choose to go with a professional in home care provider.
Whether it’s out of love or obligation, caring for a chronically ill or disabled family member (and potentially his or her financial and legal interests) can come at the expense of the caregiver’s quality of life. In addition to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle outside of caregiving responsibilities, it is important for those caring for a loved one to learn ways to avoid health hazards and stay well informed of any changes in their love ones condition. Add work and children to care for to the equation and it’s a formula that can lead to stress, exhaustion and even potential health issues.
The additional duties often required to provide care for a loved one can lead to physical or emotional fatigue, often referred to as “caregiver burnout”. If you are caring for an older adult, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America recommends these tips to help manage stress before caregiving leads to burnout.
Know the signs of burnout. By the time many caregivers suspect signs of burnout, they are likely already suffering symptoms related to their responsibilities. Being aware of some of the warning signs can help caregivers properly manage stress and insulate them from risk. Warning signs include:
- Overwhelming fatigue or lack of energy
- Experiencing sleep issues
- Significant changes in eating habits or weight
- Losing interest in activities one once enjoyed
- Neglecting personal physical and emotional needs
- Becoming unusually impatient or irritable
- Having anxiety about the future
- Suffering from headaches or stomachaches
- Experiencing mood swings or depression
- Having difficulty coping with everyday tasks
- Lower resistance to illness
Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress
Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. To help manage stress and avoid caregiver burnout, keep these tips from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in mind.:
- Maintain a positie attitude
- Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy
- Be flexible and accept the circumstances
- Be honest and open about your feelings
- Take it one day at a time
- Integrate meditation or deep breathing and exercise into your daily activities
- Set realistic goals and go slow
Getting Help With Caregiving
Everyone needs a break from time to time, even caregivers. Look into respite programs for a chance to care for yourself. Types of respite include:
- Home care is often initiated by a doctor’s order or hospital stay and administered by professionals who come into the home and help with personal care and housekeeping functions.
- Medicare covers some home health services
Whether you are a daughter or son or granddaughter or grandson or a professional in home caregiver, we all need to keep our spirits up. Health and happiness are all key to making it work as a caregiver. Keep positive and take a break if needed. For being a caregiver is a noble pursuit worthy of praise.