avoiding caregiver burnout

Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Burnout often occurs when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able – either physically or financially.

Symptoms of Burnout
● Withdrawal from friends and family
● Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
● Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless
● Changes in appetite, weight, or both
●Changes in sleep patterns
● Getting sick more often
● Emotional and physical exhaustion

How To Prevent Burnout
1. Learn about your loved one’s illness. Become educated about their limitations (physically and cognitively.) This will allow you to set realistic expectations and reduce overall stress.

2. Turn to others for help in accomplishing what you cannot. Help may come from other family members or paid caregivers such as home attendants, day care programs or geriatric care managers.

3. If you have a family member who is not local, give them tasks to complete remotely, such as paying bills, ordering groceries for delivery, coordinating medical appointments, and so on.

4. Don’t forget about yourself because you’re too busy caring for someone else. Set aside time for yourself, even if it’s just an hour or two. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury; it’s an absolute necessity if you’re going to be an effective caregiver.

5. Talk to a professional. Most therapists, social workers, and clergy members are trained to counsel individuals dealing with a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

6. Accept your feelings. Having negative feelings, such as frustration or anger, about your responsibilities or the person for whom you are caring is normal. It does not mean you are a bad person or a bad caregiver.

The most important task for caregivers is to become educated as to resources that are available to assist you! Accessing the services and support you need to be a great caregiver and maintain emotional and physical wellbeing for yourself is an essential part of the process.

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