Are you in charge of caring for an aging loved one? What may have started out as weekly visits can turn into a full-time job as your loved one gets older. Many people find themselves trapped between wanting to save money, care for a loved one, and raise their own families. They often fail to realize that this is far too heavy a burden until it’s too late and they’re burning out. Daily activities become difficult, the day job may suffer or go away completely, and caring for one’s family on top of everything else can be the last straw. The caregiver loses compassion, energy, and focus, which makes it even more difficult to provide the care his or her loved one needs. In order to avoid this trap, you need to know the signs of burnout so that you can take action to relieve them quickly. Burnout is not one of those things that gets better over time!
Are You Experiencing Caregiver Burnout?
The following five items are symptoms of burnout and should be watched for carefully.
You’re physically exhausted
Caring for others over a long period of time can have serious physical impacts. You may have trouble sleeping, get sick more often, or eat irregular meals because you’re focused on caring for your loved one. The anxiety, stress, and depression that often accompany care will increase, beginning a nasty downward cycle.
You’re emotionally exhausted
When you have an intimate view into the decline of a loved one, it is almost impossible to avoid the emotional impact. You want to ease suffering and pain, but there’s only so much you can do. You want to make your loved one feel comfortable and provide for his or her needs, but aging people tend to get worse instead of better. Emotional exhaustion is practically inevitable as you try to meet your loved one’s needs.
You can’t get enough support
Many caregivers fly solo, the most dangerous way to manage this task. While it may work out at first, as time goes on and the needs escalate, support becomes more and more important. Caregivers should have support from social workers, care managers, physicians, care managers, friends, and family. Talk therapy can also be very helpful because it allows caregivers to vent.
You can’t take a break
Once you take emotional responsibility for a loved one, it is easy to feel like there is no way for you to relinquish it, even for a little while. Unfortunately, this kind of mental trap leads to depression, isolation, apathy, and hopelessness. Regular breaks are essential to being a good care provider over time.
Your stress is extremely high
Stress has a way of creating its own problems and making a bad situation worse. Isolation, impatience, anxiety, depression, worry, backaches, and headaches are all caused by stress and will just increase the burden you’re already carrying.
Turn to Justice Healthcare Group
Caregiving is a powerful gift, but you must be smart about it. Let us help! Contact us for home health care in Houston today!