The National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP took a look at family caregivers in 2015. More than 34 million men and women provide care to someone over the age of 50. There are close to 16 million family caregivers caring for a relative with dementia.
Of those huge numbers of family caregivers, almost half feel they have no choice. Either insurance won't help pay the cost of caregiving or others pressure them into providing care. For these people, caregiver burnout is a real concern. Watch for these five signs that family caregiving is too much.
You find yourself arguing over the silliest things. At the time, they don't seem trivial to you, but when you look back, they are. You argue with your husband that he didn't get your coffee in your bigger mug and that now you have to get a second cup. It's trivial, but at the time, it greatly frustrated you.
Your Emotions Bounce Around With Little Warning
You woke up and felt refreshed and happy, but within minutes, you're feeling sad and want to climb back into bed. It can be something small that triggers the change in mood. Often, this is a sign of depression that's occurring because you're stressed and feel trapped.
Your Sleeping Patterns Are Very Different
Another sign of burnout and depression is a change in sleeping patterns. You used to go to bed at 10 p.m. and awaken at 6 a.m. You find yourself falling asleep at 8 p.m. and waking at midnight worrying about your parent's failing health or mobility. Getting back to sleep seems impossible. You haven't slept for more than four hours in weeks.
You're Always Hungry or Never Hungry
Appetite changes are another sign of burnout. You find yourself stress eating for hours. Some people lose their appetite and just don't want to eat. You may be so rushed with family caregiving and responsibilities at your own home that you get takeout meals all the time. Your diet has changed and these high-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar meals make you feel worse.
You've Pushed Off Your Own Appointments and Plans
Many family caregivers feel forced to put their parents' needs first and stop taking care of themselves. They will skip doctor's visits and dental cleanings. As time goes on, it gets easier to ignore these appointments. It can cause you to miss important screenings that can catch some health conditions in the early stages or forgo vaccinations that keep you from getting diseases like the flu.
Don't let burnout happen. Make sure you're taking time each day to care for yourself. Respite care services from an elderly care agency are one way to make this happen. Let a caregiver take over and get out of the house for an hour or two. Your parent is safe, and you have time alone to clear your mind and de-stress. Ask about respite care services by calling an elderly care professional.
if you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Larkspur, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 303-953-9924.