When an elderly person is dealing with challenges from illness, injury or simply the effects of old age, they often need help in dealing with some of the most basic tasks. For example, many seniors after a stroke cannot bathe or dress themselves anymore. Other seniors that are dealing with arthritis in their hands may not be able to drive or prepare meals for themselves.
In cases like this and many others, these elderly adults turn to family caregivers to help them out. As the elderly person’s conditions worsen, however, family caregivers often end up devoting a lot more of their time and resources to senior care. Unless they get some help with caregiving duties, these family members may be setting themselves up for caregiver burnout.
Caregiver burnout is described as extreme stress and fatigue that caregivers experience due to endless work and responsibility for a dependent. It can affect them physically, emotionally and mentally. Symptoms are similar to chronic stress and even depression. Then, they can take steps to avoid it by hiring elderly care services to share the load.
Elderly care services hire and train skilled home care assistants to help take care of elderly people. They can assist with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, meal preparation, and companionship. Many family caregivers rely heavily on home care aides to balance out their workload when it comes to caring for their loved one. Unfortunately, most family caregivers wait until their burnout levels are maxed out before hiring elderly care services.
Family caregivers need to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout so they can take steps to avoid it and hire elderly care services before their own health and wellness start to suffer. Here are 5 common signs of caregiver burnout:
- Missing out on activities and events with friends and family. All too often, a family caregiver cannot or will not leave their aging relative to do other things. This deprives the caregiver of important interactions with others.
- Fluctuations in weight and appetite. Family caregivers often don’t have time to eat right or exercise, relying on fast food or highly processed food to get by. Depression, stress, and anxiety can also cause the appetite to diminish, making it even harder to get good nutrition.
- Mood swings are common with caregiver burnout, swinging between sadness and hopelessness to irritability, frustration and even anger.
- Fatigue and exhaustion can greatly affect a family caregiver’s quality of life, and it’s common for them to suffer from insomnia.
- Many family caregivers report that they get sick more often with everything from headaches and colds to more serious conditions. Chronic stress can have a harmful effect on the body and weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight off germs.
The best thing that family caregivers can do for themselves and their elderly loved one is to hire a home care assistant to come in at regular intervals to help. This way, the caregiver can count on scheduled breaks so they have time to take care of their own needs before burnout sets in.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elderly care in Denver, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today. Call us at (303) 756-9322.