While taking care of another person can be a truly selfless, rewarding experience, it’s also important to take care of yourself. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. When you’re starting to feel depleted, there are things you can do to regain that drive to be the best caregiver possible. At Liberty Resources Home Choices, we provide homecare services and community resources for seniors and people with disabilities. Here, we discuss some of the telltale signs of caregiver burnout and what you can do to avoid it.
What Is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a state of excess physical, emotional, and mental fatigue that stems from this high-demand role. Some of the most common causes include large workloads, emotional conflicts, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of personal time away from daily caregiving duties. However, there may be other underlying causes as well. This is especially true since the type of work performed and the relationship between the caregiver and the individual and/or their family members vary greatly.
Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
There are some very recognizable signs of caregiver burnout. The more self-aware you are, the easier it can be to step back before the stress begins to affect your role as a caregiver and other aspects of your life, including your career and personal relationships. Signs of burnout include:
- Shorter temper
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and loved ones
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Sleep pattern and appetite changes
- Increased sense of worry
- Lowered self-esteem
In more advanced cases, burnout can even lead to depression, medication overuse, and feelings that you want to hurt yourself or the person you’re caring for. It’s important to recognize the signs early and find proactive ways to combat the effects.
How to Prevent Burnout
If you haven’t gotten to the point of burnout yet and are seeking ways to prevent it from happening, there are things you can do, including:
Set Realistic Expectations
While many caregivers believe their assistance will feel positive and fulfilling overall, issues may arise. Is the individual reluctant to receive help? Does the individual have a progressive disease that may lead to future challenges? Step into the role with a clear idea of what to expect.
Clarify Your Role
From the start, it’s important to make sure you know what’s expected of you and the individual you’re caring for to avoid unrealistic or insurmountable demands. Before starting, discuss the expectations with the individual as well as their family members, providers, and anyone else involved in crafting a care plan.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
For many caregivers, the role can become all-encompassing. This is especially true for individuals providing 24/7 care. Be sure to set quality time for yourself so you can maintain your appointments, workload, and relationships. These are just as important as the things you do for any other person.
What to Do When You’re Feeling Stressed
If you feel that caregiver burnout is already starting to creep in, you can find help. Several resources are available online or within your community, including:
This service ensures an individual receives the assistance they need while their caregiver is away. Many homecare organizations, like Liberty Resources Home Choices, offer this invaluable service.
Sometimes, talking to a professional can help. This is especially true for family caregivers who assist spouses and children with progressive illnesses. Whether you’re feeling depressed about the situation or just need someone to talk to, therapy can be a vital resource.
Caregiver Support Groups
Many caregivers find that meeting regularly with people in similar roles is helpful. Support groups are perfect for networking, sharing experiences, and finding new resources for yourself and your loved one.
Many organizations offer educational programs for caregivers, which gives them the tools they need to do their jobs even better. For example, family caregivers can become employed by Liberty Resources Home Choices and get paid to do the work they’re already doing for a loved one while benefiting from the professional training opportunities available.
Explore Caregiving with Liberty Resources Home Choices
As a division of Liberty Resources, Inc., Liberty Resources Home Choices expertly serves those in need throughout the Delaware Valley. We have offices located in Philadelphia and Allentown, Pennsylvania. For more information about caregiving, our services, and career opportunities, contact us today.