When The Caregiver Needs Care

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Once your loved ones reach a certain age, it usually becomes necessary for a family member to become a caregiver. We are likely to become their companion, nurse, chauffeur and maid, and we oversee, or participate fully in, “giving care.” Let’s take a look today at some of the pitfalls of “caregiver burnout,” a genuine problem in today’s society.

Conflicting Demands Of The Caregiver

Life can be challenging at times. As your senior family member ages, they may become more dependent on you for care. Or an event may occur that forces you to become the caregiver to an aging parent or relative quite suddenly.

These scenarios don’t always happen when you’re free from other commitments. Many people find themselves in this situation when they are still raising their children or helping to care for their grandchildren. A caregiver may be trying to maintain a job outside the home. You might be active in groups and organizations.

Issues The Caregiver Faces

The problem lies in caregivers doing too much and putting on a brave face, denying that they are under a great deal of stress, while it begins to take a toll on their physical and mental health. Some of the issues they face include:

  • Lack of skilled training to handle medical conditions, including dementia

  • The financial burden of caring for a loved one – lack of money and resources

  • Trying to be all things to all people, and neglecting their needs in the process

  • The caregiver has to deal with unreasonable expectations of them, either from the family, or their loved one

  • High expectations that the care you provide will improve the situation


Signs Of Caregiver Burnout

A burned-out caregiver will feel overwhelmed, exhausted, depressed and unable to cope with the situation. The emotional stress that they feel will soon become a danger to their physical health. The chronic stress compounds the situation, as the caregiver is more likely to succumb to illness. When burnout hits, a caregiver will likely feel guilty or resentful and may make mistakes that endanger the loved one or other members of the family.

Alleviating Caregiver Burnout – The Solution

The best solution is to be proactive so that this doesn’t happen in the first place. Self-care is essential and is often neglected by caregivers. Instead of putting self-care last, move it to the top of the priority list. While you may feel selfish making your self-care a priority, please consider that without a strong, healthy mind and body, you will not be able to care for anyone!

Everyone needs a break from time to time. Here are some suggestions for self-care:

  • Hire respite care regularly

  • Schedule personal care, haircuts and manicures/pedicures

  • Keep up your exercise routine to help your body process stress hormones

  • Visit friends

  • See a therapist if you have problems processing feelings

  • Call a friend

  • Enlist other family members in caregiving – share the burden

  • Limit your daily expectations to a short “do list” each day. Don’t try to do too much

Work With A Senior Care Advocate

Helping to support the community’s aging population is our passion at Lean On Dee Senior Care Advocates. Many people don’t know that this valuable resource is available to families. We don’t just care for seniors; we also support caregivers. Contact Lean On Dee today at 800-413-8733 and learn how much more rewarding caregiving can be.

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