Being a caregiver for someone you love can be very rewarding, but at times, it can also be very frustrating and exhausting. It’s often physically, mentally and emotionally draining. It not just limits your professional and personal life, but also can cause financial challenges. Caregiver fatigue or burnout occurs when the stress from these negative effects adversely affect your health.
How to Recognize Family Caregiver Fatigue?
There are many red flags that indicate the onset of fatigue and burnout, and knowing what to look for will help you detect and act on them. Self-awareness and proactiveness are the keys to preventing stress-related physical and emotional challenges.
General Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout:
- Lack of energy
- Depression and mood swings
- Sleep problems (too much or too little)
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Feeling hopeless and anxious about the future
- Losing interest in activities once enjoyed
- Neglecting one’s own physical and emotional health
- Becoming strangely impatient, irritable or argumentative with others
How to Prevent Family Caregiver Burnout?
Now that you clearly understand what caregiver burnout looks like, here are a few effective ways you can prevent it.
Ask for help
If you’re physically or mentally exhausted, ask for help. Explore sharing your caregiving duties with others. Speak to other family members about how they can help.
While giving good care to those you love, it’s important to ensure that you are actively taking care of yourself. Practice proper self-care: maintain good diet and exercise plans so that you are fit and active when your loved ones need your assistance.
Set realistic goals
Break big tasks into smaller ones that you can do one at a time. Establish a daily routine and don’t hesitate to say “no” to requests that are draining.
Look for caregiving support like at homecare assistance and caregiving communities. Many communities provide classes on health issues faced by seniors. Join one to improve caregiving and manage stress better.
Take time off
Everyone needs a break once in a while. It’s important to refresh your body and mind to be able to provide proper elder care. Get out of the house, visit your friends or pamper yourself with a good massage.
Don’t just struggle on your own. Recognize your priorities and strategically manage the care needs of your loved ones to become a happier person and a better caregiver.