A family caregiver is anyone who provides physical or emotional care for a loved one in need.
Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it also changes the family dynamic, may add financial pressure and added workload. The demands of this caregiving role can be taxing, especially when you have to fit it into an already busy schedule. This can lead to caregiver stress or “burnout”. The symptoms of caregiver burnout are both physical and emotional in nature and can take a serious toll on your well-being. They can include:
Withdrawal — Losing interest and withdrawing from activities, friends or loved ones.
Exhaustion — This can be emotional or physical which may cause you to become sick more often.
Changes in Mood/Behavior — Irritability, hopelessness, and a feeling that your life is out of your control.
Anxiety/Stress — May cause insomnia, changes in appetite and changes in weight (either weight loss or gain).
Depression – Feelings of guilt due to your perceived inability to perform your caregiving role and all other symptoms combined can lead you down the path to depression.
How to Prevent Burnout
Speak up – Don’t expect friends and family members to know what you need or how you’re feeling. Be up front about what’s going on with you and the person you’re caring for. If you have concerns or thoughts about how to improve the situation, express them!
Spread the responsibility
You can divide up caregiving tasks. For example, one can help with medical responsibilities, another with finances and bills, and another with groceries and errands. Or consider private home care to provide respite for you and socialization for your loved one.
Say “yes” when someone offers assistance
Don’t be shy about accepting help. Let them feel good about supporting you. It’s smart to have a list of small tasks ready that others could easily take care of, such as picking up groceries or driving your loved one to an appointment. Be willing to relinquish some control for your own benefit.
Do your best in being self-compassionate and patient. Delegate tasks where needed and let go of the need to control everything. Support is available for you and vulnerability is nothing to be ashamed of. Never forget you in the caregiving equation.
Here to Help Home Care is an accredited, private home care provider offering a full range of in-home care services. Our core purpose says it all: “We are Here to Help our clients remain safe and healthy at home.” We believe that seniors can stay at home and should have choice in everything they do. We don’t simply “package our services”, we co-create our care plans around the person — basing it on their individual needs, desires and personality. This approach to home care is unrivaled in the industry!