Being a family caregiver can certainly be a rewarding and wonderful experience. However, if caregivers begin to feel constantly fatigued, depressed, or hopeless, they may experience caregiver burnout. To address or even avoid this issue, it helps to know what could contribute to it in the first place. Here are six of the top risk factors associated with caregiver burnout.
1. Attempting to Do It All
Many caregivers have full to-do lists, which can become a problem if they feel like they have to do everything themselves. If caregiver burnout becomes an issue as a result of being overworked or overburdened, it’s time to scale back your duties. This goal is often achievable by:
• Having a family meeting to ask for help from other family members
• Being willing to accept help when it’s offered
• Exploring options with in-home care
• Setting reasonable boundaries with your older loved one
Caring for a senior loved one 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 Wellesley 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. Lack of Sufficient Sleep
A lack of sleep can make you feel anxious and irritable. You may also have a short fuse when it comes to things that normally wouldn’t bother you. These changes can affect you personally and your ability to provide proper care for your loved one. Stay well rested by sticking to a regular sleep schedule and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Some caregivers also find it beneficial to use personal monitoring services for their older loved ones so they don’t stay awake worrying at night.
3. Not Having a Strong Support System
Caregivers sometimes get so wrapped up in providing care that they lack sufficient support systems. If this is something you’re experiencing, take small and meaningful steps to gradually regain this type of added support. This process could involve:
• Exchanging regular texts/emails with friends
• Having a close friend or family member to confide in
• Arranging for other forms of care for your loved one so you can periodically take time off to connect with friends
• Getting therapy or counseling if there’s a need to develop better techniques
Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Wellesley, MA, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.
4. Unsatisfying Results
Some caregivers reach the point of burnout if they have unrealistic expectations about how their loved ones will respond to care. Avoid this issue by realizing there will be both good and bad days as you provide care. Also, stay updated on your loved one’s physical and mental health status so you can keep your expectations realistic and reasonable.
5. Putting Personal Interests on the Back Burner
Lacking a strong sense of self can contribute to caregiver burnout. This can happen if a caregiver gets into the habit of putting his or her personal interests aside to provide care. While your loved one’s care is certainly a priority, it’s just as important to achieve a healthy balance between caregiving and the things that matter to you personally. Even a few hours to yourself here and there to do things you enjoy can be refreshing.
6. Unexpected Personality/Mood Changes in Your Loved One
Caregiver burnout can set in if your loved one has dementia or a similar condition that affects personality and mood. As these changes occur, it may become increasingly difficult for you to handle your loved one’s instances of forgetfulness, confusion, combativeness, irritability, or even false accusations. Remain in control of your emotions and your own mental health with situations like this by:
• Realizing it’s not your loved one’s fault
• Talking to your loved one’s doctor so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and what can be done
• Considering professional in-home care for times when you simply need a break from care that’s emotionally draining
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care service, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (781) 239-0060 today.