Burnout is often talked about among family caregivers, but it is common for people to ignore their stress until it has reached serious levels. Although everyone experiences an occasional challenging moment, you should be concerned if you find every day is filled with stress and anxiety. As you plan for your new role as a caregiver, use these tips to prevent burnout from affecting your ability to provide high-quality care to your aging family member.
1. Learn About Your Loved One’s Health Condition
It can be scary to take care of someone with a serious health condition, but learning more about your loved one’s condition may reduce the fear factor. For instance, you may learn that making sure your loved one takes his or her medication on time reduces the chances of developing an illness. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition, do a little research to learn more about how it can be managed.
2. Encourage Independence
As a general rule, allow your loved one to do as many daily tasks as he or she can independently. This reduces the burden on you, and it can help your loved one retain abilities such as fine motor skills for getting dressed. Talk to other caregivers in La Mesa to find out how they promote independence with activities of daily living so you can implement these strategies at home.
3. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
A growing list of responsibilities may make it more difficult to get to bed on time, or you may find your loved one’s need for nighttime bathroom trips interferes with your ability to rest. Arrange for overnight care if necessary to ensure you get a chance to sleep through the night. This way, you can wake up refreshed and ready to start your day.
4. Find Ways to Vent Your Emotions
Guilt, anger, and frustration could all creep into your mind at any point during your caregiving routine. In fact, your risk of depression goes up if you provide care to a loved one with dementia symptoms such as aggression. For this reason, you must find healthy ways to vent your emotions. Call a friend, or write about your frustration in a journal. Allowing your emotions to get out frees you up to replace them with positive thoughts.
5. Prioritize Your Health Needs
Caregiver burnout is more likely to occur if you are malnourished or ill. Arrange for respite care from a La Mesa home care agency so you can attend medical appointments. If you have a health condition such as diabetes, make sure you have the resources you need to maintain your health so being run down does not lead to feelings of burnout.
6. Know the Warning Signs of Burnout
People often forget burnout happens gradually. Therefore, you should be on guard for early warning signs of burnout such as feeling more tired than usual or snapping at a behavior you would normally address with compassion. If you notice these early signs, reach out for help to prevent the burnout from progressing in severity.
7. Accept Your Limitations
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes caregivers must face the fact that they cannot do it all. Know it is normal to find some parts of your day unappealing, and find ways to make it easier. For instance, you could arrange for a professional to cook your loved one’s meals or take care of housekeeping tasks. This gives you more time to focus on what you do best as you enjoy the time you get to spend with your loved one.
If you are a family caregiver in San Diego County who is feeling overwhelmed, reach out to Coast Care Partners for the respite you need and deserve. Our professional caregivers are trained to assist seniors with tasks such as medication reminders, meal prep, and exercise, allowing their family members the time they need to go to work, sleep, and attend their own medical checkups. Give us a call today at 619-354-2544.