If you are caring for an aging loved one, you may be feeling stress that is taking a toll on your health. Caregiver stress can affect your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, depending on how you are supporting your loved one. If unmanaged, this stress can cause caregiver burnout.
Caregiver burnout can occur when you do not receive the help you need, or when you try to do more than you are able. While you are extending yourself in order to provide the best care for your loved one, if you do not take care of your health, you will not be able to care for them long-term.
Whether you are looking to prevent caregiver burnout or recover from its effects, there are steps you can take and resources you can use to adjust your routine. This way, you can take the best care of both yourself and your loved one.
Signs of caregiver burnout
While some signs of burnout are more noticeable than others, it is possible that you may not recognize these signs in yourself. If a family member expresses concern about your wellbeing, take note, and start adjusting your caregiving routine.
There are many signs of burnout, and everyone exhibits signs in their own way. Oftentimes, this stress begins with feeling overwhelmed or exhausted.
Common signs of burnout include:
- You don’t have energy for daily activities
- Restlessness, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness
- You are isolating yourself or not spending time with others the way you typically do
- You are having difficulty sleeping
- Your eating habits have changed
If you have noticed these signs of extended stress in yourself, it is important to reach out for the support you need to stay in good health and continue caring for your loved one.
Ways you can recover from or avoid burnout
Whether you have just become aware of the stress you are experiencing, or you have felt it for a long time, you can make the following changes in your routine to reduce the effects of burnout moving forward.
1. Collaborate with other family members
Taking care of a loved one can be a big responsibility, and sharing that responsibility with other members of your family can help alleviate pressure on you. You can arrange a schedule between you and your family so they can help you with scheduling doctor appointments, running errands, cooking, and cleaning.
Forming a family caregiving plan not only relieves stress for you, but it gives your loved one an agenda to follow, too. By including other people in your loved one’s support network, you provide them with a larger sense of community, and you allow your family members to become involved in your loved one’s life.
2. Join support groups
You are not alone in the stress you are experiencing, and connecting with people who understand what you are going through can offer you the insight you need to make changes.
3. Talk with family and friends about caregiver stress
Whether or not you are ready to make changes to your lifestyle, you can start by sharing how you are feeling with your family and friends. By letting those around you know are feeling burnt out, they can help you navigate your next steps moving forward.
By communicating openly, you can gain accountability toward making adjustments in your schedule, and you can find support from those willing to help. Talking to people you are close to also allows them to share signs they have noticed of your change in stress.
4. Practice self care
While making more time in your schedule for self care is not always possible, taking care of yourself is crucial in your ability to sustain care for your loved one. If you can, prioritize your physical health and make time to exercise or extend your bedtime routine so you are falling asleep under less stress.
If you are unable to make larger adjustments to your schedule, try to make small, daily changes. By stretching for 5 minutes after you brush your teeth or making sure you spend a few minutes outside each day, you can relieve some of the pressure that has built up throughout the day.
Senior care options outside of family caregivers
Sometimes, collaborating with family members and adjusting your routine is not enough to support your loved one and give yourself the care you need. By working with Professional Caregivers, you can develop a care plan for your loved one that fits their needs and allows you to maintain your wellbeing.
For professional support, you can look into adult day care centers where your loved one can socialize, engage in activities, and receive needed medical care and other services. Adult day care centers can offer your loved one a community of support as well as a community of peers.
If your loved one would prefer to continue living at home, you can find quality, affordable in-home care services. There are many benefits of hiring in-home care, including the ability for your loved one’s Professional Caregiver to supplement your current routine at your loved one’s home.
To develop a specialized care plan for your loved one, you can contact Golden Care and gain the support of a licensed, dedicated Care Professional. If you are considering in-home care, but you are not sure how Golden Care services can support you and your loved one, call us at (760) 828-5201. We can discuss your needs and schedule a complimentary in-home assessment.