Preparing For Caregiving Burnout by Charles Watson
Posted on January 18, 2022
Caregiver Burnout is a condition of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that a change in attitude may accompany—from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.
Common Causes of Caregiver Burnout
- High expectations for loved ones and yourself may not always be possible
- Lack of control: caregivers can become frustrated if they don't have the money, skills and resources to manage and plan their loved one's care
- Putting unreasonable demands on yourself – sometimes you take on more than you can handle
- Taking over multiple family roles
Common Signs of Caregiver Burnout
- Change in sleep patterns
- Feelings of depression
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless and helpless
- Emotional or physical exhaustion
- Changes in appetite, weight or both
- Withdrawal from friends, family and other loved one
Caregivers must remember to take steps to prevent burnout by continuing to provide themselves with physical and emotional support.
Caregiver Burnout prevention includes:
- Seeking out help – through family, friends, local resources, respite care, join a support group
- Identifying positive coping strategies – visiting with friends, reading, listening to music, exercising.
You can't help your loved one if you aren't healthy and feeling well!
As you learn to deal with your reactions while at the hospital and upon returning home, here are some ideas for managing your complicated thoughts and feelings.
- it is natural to be worried when your loved one is suffering. Allow yourself 15-20 minutes during the day when you do nothing but think about your concerns. Refocus yourself on the tasks at hand when your "worry" time is up,
- Keep a journal. Write down your concerns, thoughts, and feelings.
Develop an attitudeof "one day at a time".
- It is alright to take a break for a few hours every day.
- Request another family member or friend to take over for you.
- Do not resolve essential issues when upset; give yourself time to relax before talking to someone.
- Identify the cause of your anger and then devise a plan to fix it. Ask care providers for help.
- Make a progress journal, write down what your loved one did during that day, especially any progress made. Repeat this action the following week on the same day (e.g., every Monday). After one month, review the "Monday" activities to assess progress properly.
- Learn to pace yourself. Try to give and divide responsibilities among family and friends.
- Keep a "To Do" list handy and hand it over when anyone offers to help. Please provide a specific chore/job to ease your burden (e.g., prepare a meal, arrange for carpool).
- Allow loved ones to be taken care of by the professional staff, and it is their job to help. This gives you time to rest and regain stamina.
- Identify one other person to serve as a mediator. Inform them of your loved one's situation. Let that designated person share all information with your family members, colleagues and friends, neighbours. Repeating the information repeatedly can be exhausting. Having someone else do the communicating to others allows you to focus more attention on your loved one.
- To be an effective caregiver, you must remain healthy, both physically and emotionally.
- Talking the situation over with a professional will help control your emotions.
- Maintain close familial bonds.
- The rehab team will help you in any way they can.
Burnout can occur when caregivers do not get the help they need or try to do more than they can—either physically or financially. Many caregivers also feel guilt-ridden if they spend time on themselves rather than their ill or elderly loved ones. Caregivers who burn out may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression.