When family members are responsible for the primary care of an aging relative, they are doing a wonderful thing and providing a great service. However, if they try to take on all of the duties themselves without getting help, they are more likely to suffer from a condition known as caregiver burnout.
It’s very common for family caregivers to develop caregiver burnout at some point.
But what is caregiver burnout?
This describes a state of exhaustion that is both physical and mental. Caregiver burnout is a form of chronic stress, which can have some serious negative health effects on the body. Besides stress, caregivers may also experience anxiety and depression with burnout.
What Causes Caregiver Burnout?
Family caregivers must do a lot for their aging loved ones. Usually, caregiving includes bathing, dressing, hygiene, and cleaning the house. It may also include grocery shopping, meal preparation, finances, transportation, and basic companionship. Because an elderly adult’s needs are frequent and unyielding, caregivers are really bound to the person’s home and it’s very difficult to leave, even for a few minutes.
Also, family caregivers must often forego spontaneous activities by friends and family. They don’t have much time for themselves to engage in hobbies or have meaningful conversations with loved ones. Family caregivers also experience challenges in trying to get other family members to help with the caregiving duties. All this adds up to stress and depression with no end in sight.
How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout.
It’s important to take steps to minimize the source of the stress, and family caregivers can take significant steps toward preventing it from developing further. Here are just a few steps they can take to reduce the risk of caregiver burnout.
- Take care of themselves by eating right and getting plenty of restful sleep.
- Set realistic goals as far as caregiving and specifically identify in what areas an elderly loved one needs assistance.
- Identify someone that can be a sounding board for frustrations, ideas, and simple venting. Generally, this can be a spouse, clergy member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor.
- Hire a home care assistant to come regularly to help with bathing, hygiene, and grooming tasks for the elderly adult.
- Arrange for the home care assistant to do some of the housekeeping chores that take up so much time, such as laundry, cleaning, and caring for the pet.
- Do something meaningful with the time off, such as go to lunch with friends, exercise, do important errands or read a good book.
- See a therapist to help sort out the conflicting feelings and emotional highs and lows of being a family caregiver.
- Develop coping strategies for dealing with stress related to family caregiving, such as using humor, music, exercise, and working side by side with home care assistants.
- Don’t be afraid to call in a home care assistant for help on days that are particularly difficult or challenging just to get a break.
- If the elderly person’s health takes a turn for the worse or they need more in-depth care, increase the home care agency’s hours instead of their own.
If you or an aging loved one needs caregiver services in Granite Bay, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.