When aging adults experience such declines in health that they need in-home care, it’s usually a family member that steps up to provide the assistance. As a family caregiver, that person is responsible for everything from health, hygiene and wellness to finances, medical appointments, and housekeeping. Family caregivers usually discover that they cannot do all the tasks themselves when they experience high stress and a decline in their own physical and mental health.
This chronic state is often called caregiver burnout. Fortunately, there are ways to dodge caregiver burnout and maintain balance in life as a family caregiver.
What Causes Caregiver Burnout?
Because caregiver burnout takes time to develop, there are plenty of warning signs that family caregivers need to become familiar with. If they don’t know what they are doing, they could be perpetuating bad habits and activities that contribute to the condition. Recognizing chronic stress that leads to burnout is the first step in resolving the problem.
Chronic stress comes from constant activity, ungrateful family members, and no time for stress management or respite from responsibilities. Symptoms include low energy, headaches, high blood pressure, mood swings, appetite changes, insomnia, lack of interest in fun things and digestive problems. In extreme cases, chronic stress can contribute to heart disease, alcohol and drug abuse and depression. When family caregivers start to notice such symptoms in their own lives, then caregiver burnout may not be far behind.
Top Method for Handling Caregiver Burnout
The most important thing that family caregivers can do to avoid caregiver burnout is to get regular respite from their duties. This means they need to be able to leave their aging loved one once in a while to attend to their own needs. A healthy diet, exercise, hobbies, socializing and pursuing their own dreams and goals are the best stress busters. But how can they leave their aging loved one alone for long periods of time? The answer is hiring elderly care providers.
Elderly care providers are trained professionals who know how to take care of aging adults of all abilities and backgrounds. They can handle just about anything while the family caregiver is away. Elderly care providers can help seniors with bathing, dressing, hygiene and grooming. They can also help a little around the house with light housekeeping, light laundry, meal preparation and even pet care. Above all, elderly care providers are companions and supervisors for aging adults that shouldn’t be alone. This gives family caregivers the respite they so desperately need.
It’s very easy to develop caregiver burnout without a plan in place for regular breaks from the demanding yet rewarding responsibility of being a family caregiver. With help from elderly care providers, family caregivers can achieve the balance they need for health and wellness.