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How to Deal With Caregiver Burnout

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We’ve all heard the term “burnout” tossed around casually and applied to everything from work to exercise to relationships. What exactly does it mean? Essentially, caregiver burnout is a form of deep exhaustion brought on by an excessive amount of work over a long period of time. Being a caregiver for a loved one can be an extremely difficult and taxing job, and a common consequence is caregiver burnout.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

Caregiver burnout is a specific type of burnout brought on by the stress of providing constant care for an ill or aging loved one. A caregiver dealing with this kind of burnout may be mentally exhausted and overwhelmed, and as a result, may become irritable, anxious, and depressed. Additionally, burnout can manifest as physical symptoms like weight fluctuations, insomnia, and aches and pains due to fatigue. These consequences can be devastating for both the caregiver and their loved one, as a caregiver dealing with these symptoms can no longer provide the best quality of care. Before it reaches that point, Careage Senior Living has compiled a list of ways to prevent and treat caregiver burnout.

  • Practice self-care. More simply put, take care of yourself. Make sure to eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, and exercise regularly. Treat yourself to a relaxing bath, spa day, or night out with friends once in a while. Your loved one may be extremely important to you, but you need to take care of yourself in order to care for them.

  • Get help when you need it. Keep in contact with a support system of family and friends. If you can sense burnout approaching, reach out to a member of your support network. You can talk to them about how you’re feeling and get assistance in your caregiver duties. Having a friend over to assist you with a couple of chores or watch over your loved one for a few hours while you take a break can make a big difference.

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re working as a caregiver, chances are you’re rather selfless. Be sure not to spread yourself too thin. If something in your schedule seems like too much for you, it probably will be. Reach out for help right away. Be careful not to over-schedule your day. Having time cushions in your day can help you cope with unexpected setbacks, or allow for rest opportunities.

  • Take advantage of respite care. Some senior living communities, like Careage, offer short-term respite care services. These programs are designed for seniors who need extra help after recovering from an illness, surgery, or injury, but are also helpful for full-time caregivers who need a break from caring for their loved one. Respite care can also be useful if you need to travel for an extended period of time.

We hope that these explanations and suggestions will help you deal with your caregiver stress and give you options for combating burnout in the future. For more information, ideas, and news about senior living, visit Careage’s blog.

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