“Caregiver burnout” can often seem like a misleading phrase. Instead of rapidly blowing up in a blaze of frustration, most family caregivers find they feel more like their motivation to provide care slowly fizzles until they have no flame left to burn. Burnout can happen to anyone, and it’s more likely to occur so slowly that you don’t notice until things have reached a critical point. Watching out for these five ways caregiver burnout can sneak up on you helps you take action before you lose your spark.
1. Changing Your Eating Habits
If you’ve been skipping meals due to a lack of time to eat, you have something to worry about. You might also choose to skip a meal because you lack your normal appetite, which is another sign of burnout. Or you might be eating more high-fat and sugary meals to compensate for your lack of energy. All of these situations mean you might not be giving your body the fuel it needs to keep going. Switching to a healthier diet and eating schedule can help you generate more energy.
Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. Increasing Your Reliance on Mood-Altering Substances
That second glass of wine at the end of a long day might feel good, but it could be a sign you’re trying to drink away your worries. This is especially true if you routinely drink more than the recommended amount for the average person. Family caregivers are susceptible to misusing prescription painkillers, alcohol, and other mind-altering substances. If you’ve been relying on chemicals to feel better, it’s time to seek professional help to find healthier alternatives.
3. Skipping Critical Health Appointments
Your loved one’s schedule might be overwhelming as he or she adds more specialists and therapists to his or her treatment team. Taking your loved one to medical appointments is great, but you also need to attend yours. Letting health issues go untreated could slowly cause you to lose your vitality and be more susceptible to burnout. Hiring a caregiver to take your loved one to appointments while you attend yours is a solution that helps you stay healthy, too.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Wellesley families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.
4. Discovering You Lack a Social Life
When you’re busy caring for your loved one, you might not realize your friends are slowly drifting away. After a time, people will stop asking you to go out for special events or simply have regular conversations. Making your social life a priority gives you people to talk to when you need to vent and relieve stress.
5. Experiencing Uncomfortable Feelings
Stuffing your emotions down is often a normal part of life when you don’t want to lose your cool about something your loved one can’t control. However, those emotions eventually bubble back up to the surface. You might find yourself feeling frustrated when your loved one makes a simple request, or you might suddenly feel guilty for taking an hour or two to yourself. These emotions are normal, and they’ll start arising more regularly if you don’t take action. Asking for help gives you space to take care of yourself so you end each day on a more positive note.
Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Wellesley elderly home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (781) 239-0060.