Caregiving for an older loved one, while incredibly rewarding, can also bring about a high degree of caregiver stress. The full-time pressure of taking care of a loved one’s needs can quickly escalate to caregiver burnout – a dangerous condition that can result in a loss of patience and emotional outbursts, impacting not just the caregiver personally, but the older adult being cared for as well.
It’s crucial to determine if you are at risk for caregiver burnout, to recognize the warning signs, and to find help when needed.
What Causes Caregiver Burnout?
There are several risk factors that can lead to caregiver burnout, such as:
- Expecting that your caregiving will make the person in your care healthier and happier, when in reality, a progressive health condition may make this expectation unrealistic
- Feeling frustrated by circumstances out of your control, such as finances, care needs, or necessary support
- The inability to clearly separate your role as caregiver from that of a close family member
- Imposing unreasonable demands on yourself (or others placing such demands on you)
How Do I Know if I’m Experiencing Caregiver Burnout?
Some degree of stress is to be expected in providing care for someone you love, but the following signs may indicate that you’ve crossed the line into burnout:
- Isolating yourself from friends and family
- Losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, irritability, and sadness
- Difficulty with eating or sleeping
- Becoming sick more often
- Exhaustion – both physical and emotional
- Thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or the person in your care
I Think I Have Caregiver Burnout. What Should I Do?
Do you remember learning as a child to “stop, drop, and roll” if your clothing were to catch on fire? A similar response is warranted if you’re experiencing caregiver burnout. It’s important to make your own self-care a top priority, immediately.
Of course, as a family caregiver, finding time for yourself isn’t easy. That’s where a trusted home care provider, like Nightingale Homecare, can be a lifesaver. Our respite care services allow you to ensure the senior in your care receives skilled, caring support while you step away to improve your own health and wellbeing.
The key is to carve out regular time for yourself on an ongoing basis to engage in calming, enjoyable activities, visit with friends and family, or talk through your feelings with a professional therapist. Do whatever helps you to gain the restored peace you need. As the top provider of home health care in Sun City, AZ and the surrounding areas, you can count on our professional care team to provide the highest quality care, whenever you need us.