If you are a caregiver you understand that caregiver burnout is a serious issue. Caring for a loved one can consume you both physically and emotionally. Frequently, caregivers are juggling jobs, family and caregiving, which results in personal needs being neglected. Nutrition, exercise and social activities may suffer because of caregiving responsibilities. So, caregivers often end up feeling angry, anxious, isolated, and sad.
Unfortunately, when a caregiver is experiencing these burnout symptoms it may impact their caregiving ability. So it’s important to recognize the symptoms and prevent the issues from escalating.
Below are a few common symptoms of caregiver burnout:
- Sleeping problems—sleeping too much or too little
- Change in eating habits—resulting in weight gain or loss
- Feeling tired or without energy most of the time
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy such as going out with friends, walking, or reading
- Easily irritated, angered, or saddened
- Frequent headaches, stomach aches, or other physical problems
So what can you do to prevent caregiver burnout?
Here are a few suggestions to make your health a priority and in the process become a better caregiver.
- Ask for and accept help.
- Research community caregiving resources.
- Maintain social ties with friends and family.
- Find time for exercise, even if only a short walk.
- Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine.
- Find other caregivers to talk to and share feelings and concerns.
- Try to get enough sleep.
- Make healthy eating a priority. Keep fruits and vegetables on hand for easy snacks.
If you are a caregiver who also has a job, consider taking some time off to rejuvenate yourself. Employees covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for relatives.
It is important to note that caring for another person also has many positives. Caregiving can give a sense of purpose that may have been missing previously. Their role makes them feel useful, capable and that they are making a difference in the life of a loved one.
We understand the importance of caring for family and have written A Guide for Family Caregivers to share tips and resources to help with different aspects of caregiving. Our main goal is to enable CT seniors to safely age in place. We offer many levels of in-home care, even short-term care so that a family caregiver can take a vacation. For more information, please contact us to talk about a free in-home evaluation.