ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT HAVING CAREGIVER BURNOUT?
As a caregiver are you worried about what the future holds? Are you at odds with your elderly relative about life's decisions?
Caregiving for older relatives has always been a concern of families Care is given with love, kindness, and commitment. But when care is provided for many years the burden can be unrelenting and burdensome.
Baby Boomers (49-65 y/o), currently a large portion of our population, are shouldering the burden of caregiving. Adult children are often part of the Sandwich Generation. They might have children who have moved back home after college and/or divorce. They might be babysitting for grandchildren. And all the while caring for a senior member of their family. The young-old (65-74) often with their own health issues might be caring for a parent in the following age groups, 75-84 (middle old) or 85+ (old-old).
As a caregiver your feelings are many. Frustration, anger, worry, stress, exhaustion are just a few of the possible reactions. Caregiving includes many stressors, a change in family dynamics, financial burdens and increased volume of work. All of this can result in constant stress and frustration and a quick burnout.
Medical advances and increased life expectancy impact on caregiving outcomes. It is most likely that one will participate in taking care of a loved one, themselves be the recipient of the caregiving process or both. You may be fortunate enough to have a strong support system or you may be carrying the burden alone, resulting in caregiver burnout. Burnout can be a real danger but can be prevented with some guidelines.
SIGNS OF CAREGIVER BURNOUT
- Neglect of own needs
- Life revolves around your loved one
- Frequent illnesses/colds
- Financial burdens
SUGGESTIONS TO PREVENT BURNOUT
1. Take a break – not just as hour. Do something with a friend for the afternoon/day. Indulge yourself. Take a walk, go to a movie, take a nap.
2. Accept help when offered. Don’ t feel you have to be responsible for everything.
3. Remember there is a difference between caring and doing. Encourage independence in your loved one.
4. Confide in others. Call a trusted friend, family member, just tell them you need them to listen. Join a support group
5. Remember caregiving is a job and with any job you get a vacation. Look into respite care.
6. Watch for depression and seek help.
7. Grieve the losses, dream new dreams.
You can survive caregiver burnout. First and foremost, in order to continue to provide the best care possible to your loved one you MUST take care of yourself. Caregivers I have seen in the past few years have made progress in addressing their needs with the additional support of a therapist and making small, steady changes. They understand that making any positive change can help and they are not alone in this uncharted journey.
Please don't hesitate to call. Judith Glick, LCSW - 201-657-5682 for a free phone consultation. I can help you alleviate your worries and decrease your anxiety about caregiver burnout.
Judith Glick, LCSW