Caregivers are at risk for something called caregiver burnout. It’s a problem caused by the physical and emotional stress of caring for someone else. Often family caregivers develop burnout because they become overly focused on the care of their aging relative and neglect their own health. They may not eat a balanced diet or get enough exercise. And, when symptoms of illness crop up, they might ignore them and not see a doctor. Knowing how to spot the signs of caregiver burnout and what to do about them can help you to protect your health.
5 Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Some signs that you may be suffering from caregiver burnout are:
- Withdrawing: Caregiver burnout can make you not want to be with other people. When you do have time to spend with someone other than the older adult, you may not feel like it. You might find yourself turning down opportunities to go out with friends or see family members.
- Appetite and Weight Changes: You may either gain weight or lose weight because of caregiver burnout. It may make you engage in emotional eating or make you not want to eat at all.
- Getting Sick Often: Caregivers often catch every cold or flu that comes along because they are worn down.
- Irritability and Other Negative Moods: You might find yourself snapping at people, including the senior you’re caring for, for almost no reason. Or, perhaps you feel hopeless, overwhelmed, and sad.
- Sleep Changes: You don’t sleep well at night, waking often or having difficulty falling asleep. You might feel like you don’t have time to sleep or lie in bed worrying.
What to Do About It
If the above signs of caregiver burnout apply to you, it’s important that you take action to overcome it. Some things you can do to help yourself are:
- See Your Doctor: Have a comprehensive physical and talk to your doctor about how you are feeling.
- Get Help with Caregiver Duties: Ask family members and friends to take on some of the caregiver tasks or spend time with the older adult so you can have some time off.
- Join a Support Group: There are online and in-person support groups dedicated to caregivers. They are a safe place for you to talk about your feelings and meet other people who are going through the same thing.
One of the best ways to deal with caregiver burnout is to contact a home care agency. Home care agencies can help you to set up professional in-home caregivers to take care of your aging relative so that you can have some time to yourself. Home care is an affordable alternative to a long-term care facility and lets your loved one remain comfortably in their home while also giving family caregivers the time they need to focus on themselves.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Big Timber, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.