Caregiver Burnout-How to recognize and prevent it. Care-giving can come in many forms. A caregiver is any person that is providing support to another person. This could be physically, financially or emotionally. Many don’t realize that they have inadvertently taken on this role for an aging loved ones while preforming routine check ins. Continue reading to learn how to recognize and prevent caregiver burnout.
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What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is when one is over come by exhaustion (which can be both mentally and physically), while caring for another. This usually occurs when the care giver is doing everything on their own, without support from others. It very often mimics anxiety and depression, and can render you unable to function properly in your own day to day life.
Practicing good self care through activities like yoga, meditation, and relaxation is vital. Try to spend approximately 20 minutes each day on one of these.
Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout:
- Feelings of helplessness
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of appetite
- Withdrawing from activities that used to bring joy
Ways to Help Prevent Caregiver Burnout
One of the best ways to help prevent burnout while caring for your aging loved one is to seek other family members to help with care. If you do not have other family available to help in this, you may want to reach out to a local care provider. This could be beneficial in many ways. A professional may be able to fill in some care-giving gaps or take over certain tasks such as bathing.
Here are some other helpful tips:
- Set boundaries with your loved one
- Don’t over extend yourself
- Don’t neglect other aspects of your life such as work
- Therapy or a support group
- Don’t neglect your hobbies or interests
- Be sure to find time to relax! (With your loved one and on your own)
- Find another outlet to alleviate stress (exercise, meditation, yoga or even a hot bath)
- Essential oil diffuser (mixing lavender and chamomile can help reduce anxiety)
How to Achieve a Work/Life Balance while Caring for an Aging Loved One
As the needs of a loved one increased it can become difficult to maintain a good balance with work. This may cause strain at work. While the Family Medical Leave Act does help protect employees it may not be realistic for all to take advantage of. It does provide 12 weeks per year for you to take leave. This time is generally unpaid and you may not be able to go without pay for that long. Additionally, it does require 30 days notice, which may be unrealistic for you in the event of an emergency.
Here are some steps you can take to help you achieve balance with your job.
- Notify your job and keep them updated on your situation.
- Your work may be able to help by offering time off, flex hours or telecommuting
- Speak to your HR department about potential other benefits they offer beyond the FMLA
- If telecommuting, be sure that work work space is separate and away for distractions