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How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

As our loved ones age, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves in a caregiving role. Caring for elderly relatives can have physical and emotional consequences. With a new role and new caregiving responsibilities, it’s all too easy to grow overwhelmed, stressed, and eventually burnt out.

Caregiver burnout is defined as a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, possibly paired with a change in attitude, that occurs when you stretch yourself past your limits.

Many feel guilty or even embarrassed when they begin to exhibit signs of caregiver burnout. You are not alone in these feelings. Caregiver burnout is unfortunately a common problem. Even professional caregivers who have years of training suffer from this issue regularly. Among caretakers, the reason for burnout almost always comes down to neglecting one’s personal needs.

It is important to do what you can to limit burnout because it is not just you these symptoms impact. Your loved one will feel the negative impacts in your care. Do not allow your quality of care to suffer. Below are some tips on how to avoid caregiver burnout.

Avoid caregiver burnout with these tips

Get organized

A major stressor among caregivers is the sudden influx of tasks. To help ensure nothing is forgotten, make a list of all the tasks you need to complete and schedule your day around them. Staying organized will not only make it easier to keep track of everything you need to do, but allow you to find pockets of free time in your day.

Get your loved one involved in this process. If they are able, ask them to assist with tasks like groceries or laundry. Not only will this take some pressure off of you, but it will also give them a sense of purpose. This will make the transition into you providing them care easier.

Set boundaries

To prevent caregiver burnout, you need to set boundaries with your loved ones and those around you. For many caretakers, this is a challenge, as they feel obligated to say “yes” to just about anything that comes their way, even if it’s a detriment to their health. However, if you try to do everything, you will feel the strain and burn out. You must learn to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

It is also crucial to set boundaries with your loved ones concerning their expectations. If they expect more from you than you can give, you must have a conversation with them. It’s possible they are not aware that they are putting too much pressure on you. Chances are, once they understand how much their demands impact you, they will take steps to lighten your load.

Take breaks

It is impossible to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, yet many caregivers shoulder this burden. You must make a point to make time for yourself for even half an hour a day. Even taking a few minutes a day to step outside for a breath of fresh air will make a world of difference in your mental health.

At some point in the day, step away to do something you love. If you’re concerned about leaving your elderly loved one alone during this time, commission the help of friends and family. Ask them to keep an eye on your family member while you take some time for yourself. If you don’t have anyone you can rely on, there are also professional care services that can fill this role.

Knowing how to avoid caregiver burnout is crucial to your health

Prioritize your health

You cannot provide quality care if you do not care for yourself first. Make sure you eat a quality, balanced diet that promotes energy. Finding the time to make healthy meals can seem near-impossible, but there are solutions to your limited time. Meal planning and subscription boxes allow you to create quality meals in less time.

Find time to exercise several times a week. While exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling exhausted, even a short walk can improve your mood and boost your energy. With all of this in mind, do not forget to maintain regular visits to your primary care physician.

Build a support network

Caregiver burnout can be emblematic of isolation. To prevent this, build a supportive network of family and friends around you. Whether you lean on them to share caregiving tasks or simply to vent, having that support will provide you with a valuable outlet for release. These people will provide emotional support and practical help when needed.

If you don’t have a large support system, consider joining a caregiver support group. These groups provide an excellent outlet for expressing your frustrations and concerns because the members involved truly understand what you’re going through. If you’re looking for another pair of helping hands, it may be possible they can connect you with someone who can support your loved one when you need a break.

Be aware of your limits

Caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, it is important to be aware of your limits. If you find yourself overwhelmed, take a step back and assess your situation. From there, you can make changes to your routine and seek support.

Notice symptoms of caregiver burnout and take action before they grow severe. Some indicators include:

  • Emotional and/or physical exhaustion
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Increased feelings of anxiety
  • Difficulties in decision-making

Too many caregivers try to “fight through” their feelings. However, persevering past these feelings won’t eliminate them– in fact, they will only enhance. This will lead to more severe problems not only interpersonally, but in your caregiving itself.

Self-care is home care

Take the necessary time you need to recharge– your loved one will benefit from it in the end. Remember: self-care is home care. To be the best caretaker possible, you must take care of yourself.

You may find that, in order to properly care for your physical and mental health, you may require respite care. Respite care is the temporary relief of a primary caregiver. In some instances, this could come in the form of family or friends assuming the caregiving responsibilities, or professional home care assistance.

If you are interested in respite care provided by a professional home care associate, Home Care Arizona can help. We provide superb caregivers to older adults and their families in need in the Chicago area. We would be honored to help you in any way possible, whether that means personal care, light housekeeping, medication reminders, or meal planning.

Visit our website or give us a call at 773-274-9262 to learn more about our services.

About Us

You have come to the right place if you are looking for in-home care for elderly loved ones or yourself in the Phoenix area. Our team of experts provides quality services to senior citizens in the comfort of their own homes. We understand that each individual is unique. We have a vast team of experts carefully detailing every care plan with years of experience-backed care knowledge.

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