23 Dec 2015

How To Manage Caregiver Burnout

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The demands of caring for a loved one with physical or cognitive impairments can be immense. Caregiver burnout occurs when you’ve reached the limit of physical and emotional energy you can expend caring for your loved one. Here, we outline some strategies you can employ in order to prevent caregiver burnout, recognize caregiver burnout, and address caregiver burnout in the event it begins to affect you.

Caregiver Burnout

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

  1. Find a confidant
  2. The feeling of facing your situation ‘alone’ is common among caregivers. Having a confidant or support group to share your feelings with can greatly reduce this feeling, especially if those you’re confiding in are/have been in similar situations.

  3. Set aside time for yourself
  4. Setting aside time for your own interests and hobbies is essential for your emotional well-being. If you are spending all your time and energy caring for your loved one, your emotional needs certainly are not being met. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t have time to set aside time for yourself. Devoting all your time to your loved one is unsustainable and is likely to lead to a bad outcome in the long run.

How to Recognize Caregiver Burnout

In order to properly address caregiver burnout, you should learn the signs and symptoms associated with it. The following are common symptoms associated with caregiver burnout:

  1. Feelings of depression and anxiety
  2. Feeling resentful towards the person you’re taking care of
  3. Having trouble sleeping and even relaxing at all
  4. Experiencing a drop in energy level
  5. Neglect of your own needs, especially if you find that you no longer seem to care about them

If you are spending a large amount of time and energy caring for your loved one and begin experience one or more of these symptoms, you are probably burning out as a caregiver. At this point, continuing to acting as caregiver without taking steps to address your burnout is unsustainable and will probably lead to a bad outcome for your caregiver and you.

How to Address Caregiver Burnout

If you’ve recognized that you’re suffering from caregiver burnout, try these measures in order to re energize yourself and commence more sustainable patterns of caregiving.

  1. Ask for help – There are numerous resources out that can lessen your burden
  2. Accept your loved one’s condition and limitations – Do not expend energy trying to overcome your loved one’s limitations. Learn to accept their condition and make the best of their remaining capacity,
  3. Take a break – Taking a vacation or a few days to yourself can relax and reenergize yourself. Make period breaks part of your routine when you resume your role as a caregiver.

Caregiver burnout is a common condition for those caring for a loved one with complex needs. Use this overview of managing caregiver burnout to address the condition and resume being the best caregiver you can.

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