How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Becoming a caregiver, whether through choice or obligation can lead to stress and burnout if you aren’t careful. At Center for Hospice Care, we understand the burden of eldercare can be great, especially if you are going at it alone. Assisting someone during their final years can be mentally, physically and financially draining. Making sure to take care of yourself and your needs is essential to staying healthy to ensure the best care possible.
What is caregiver stress?
Caring for an elderly parent can be a rewarding experience that gives you a sense of pride that you were there to help during a time of need for your loved one. It can also attribute to a high-stress time in your life. Caregiver stress might cause you to experience the following:
- A sense of despair or anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
- Constantly being tired or sleepy
- Problems concentrating
- Increase in coping agents like food, alcohol or smoking
- Disinterest in hobbies
- Feelings of resentment
- Health issues that are new or getting worse
This can happen whether you’re dealing with a hospice diagnosis or caring for an elderly parent or loved one who needs additional assistance. Once people begin to need help due to age, it can be years and sometimes decades of needing increasing assistance due to gradual deterioration.
How to cope with caregiver burnout
Sometimes people experience more than just caregiver stress and begin to feel burned out. This could look like:
- Chronic fatigue
- Low immune system leading to an increase in colds or the flu
- Feelings of helplessness
- Losing or gaining weight in significant amounts
- Lower energy levels than before caretaking
- Neglecting your health or needs out of lack of caring
- Mood swings or being irritated with who you are assisting
Tactics on how to cope with caregiver burnout and improve your situation, and by default improve the care of your loved one, consist of:
- Seeking help from friends, family, community groups or your religious community. Help from family or friends with time or money can greatly improve your quality of life and therefore the person you care for.
- Caring for your own health. It can be difficult when having to monitor and assist someone else to get your needs met, but it can be the balm to help you through the hard times. Make sure you are eating, sleeping, exercising and even meditating or using stress-relieving practices to improve your health and mood.
- Getting support from local or online groups can help you get through stressful times. AARP has online forums geared directly towards caregiving, and checking out Area Agencies on Aging can link you to local groups where you can seek the aid you need.
When caregiving becomes too much
If you are constantly struggling despite employing the above methods, it might be time to consider getting support through a facility. There are many assisted living homes, in-home assistance establishments, and palliative and hospice focused organizations such as Center for Hospice Care that can be the exact help you need. If your loved one is terminally ill, reach out and let us help you and your loved one at the Center for Hospice Care today.