Avoid Caregiver Burnout: Take a Break!

January 15, 2020 | BY PHS Staff

burnout word display on tablet over table

If you’re a family caregiver of an aging or ill loved one, you deserve recognition for your tireless work and countless hours spent away from your own family, work and friends. It’s tough to be a caregiver, but you’re not alone. Millions of family caregivers put in long, unpaid hours every day, says Aging Care, and dealing with sometimes difficult elders with little to no help can place a heavy burden on their shoulders.

It’s a noble effort, but no one can give and give every day with no end in sight. If you try, guess what happens? It invariably leads to what is called caregiver burnout. This is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion whereby stressed caregivers often experience fatigue, anxiety and depression, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Everyone needs a break, even for an afternoon or a couple of days. Good news is, many home care services, including Preferred HealthStaff, offer temporary reprieve from your caregiving duties in the form of respite services. Take advantage of such in-home care services so you can take some time off and recharge your batteries. Such services can range from meal prep and companion care to laundry and housework.

What Causes Caregiver Burnout?

Caregivers, especially of aging parents and Alzheimer’s sufferers, are so often busy providing care for others that they start neglecting their own emotional, spiritual and physical health. The demands on your body, mind and emotions as a caregiver can quickly get overwhelming, even though you may not notice the signs at first. Neglect of your own body and mind can lead to fatigue, hopelessness and burnout.

Other factors that result in caregiver burnout include:

  • Role confusion: You may find it hard to separate your role as caregiver from your role as spouse, sibling, child, or friend.
  • Unrealistic expectations: You may expect your involvement to have a positive effect on the health and happiness of your loved one, but sadly this isn’t always the case. It’s especially unrealistic for those who suffer from a progressive disease, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
  • Lack of control: You may become frustrated by a lack of money, skills and resources available to you to effectively plan, organize and manage your loved one’s care.
  • Unreasonable demands: You may place unreasonable burdens on yourself, in part because you view providing care as your exclusive responsibility. On the other side of the coin, some family members may place unreasonable demands on you as the caregiver, preferring to let you do all the hard work.
  • Other factors: You may not immediately recognize when you are suffering from burnout, eventually getting to the point where you can’t function effectively. You may even become sick yourself.

If you get burned out and sick, you are no good to the person who needs you – not to mention your own partner, children, or friends. Your productivity at work can suffer, you may feel socially isolated, and you may even get depressed. This is why it’s important to take time for YOU! Give elderly home care services a try…you will be amazed at how rejuvenated you feel upon your return.

Contact Preferred HealthStaff

Need a break? Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help with our home care services. Please contact us at 866-943-9791.