Caregiver Burnout is real. As a caregiver, you are so busy prioritizing the needs of your loved one that you neglect your own well-being. As you continue to shift your focus on them and their care, you begin to slide into a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion.
While most family caregivers are stressed, those that are helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or another type of dementia have additional stressors. They watch as their family member mentally declines and experiences mood swings, confusion and memory loss. In addition, they constantly worry about them falling and getting hurt or wandering off and having accidents.
Often times, these caregivers are trying to balance Alzheimer care with their own work-schedules and family life. As their lives increasingly revolve around the caregiving, they begin to feel frustrated and even angry. If you’re a caregiver, it’s important that you educate yourself on the signs of burnout, assess your well-being often and find time for yourself to prevent burnout so that you can offer your loved one the best care possible.
KNOW THE ABC SIGNS OF CAREGIVER STRESS:
The best way to prevent and deal with caregiver burnout is to educate yourself on the signs and get help when you need it.
Anger: You begin to feel frustration towards the loved one you are caring for, as well as other family members who may not be doing enough to aid in the care.
Being irritable and anxious: You are anxious, have trouble sleeping and are persistently worried or short of temper.
Changes in sleep or appetite: You find yourself not sleeping well, sleeping all of the time or experiencing changes in weight or appetite.
Depression: You experience a decreased satisfaction in life, are crying for no reason and have a constant feeling of despair.
Exhaustion: You get sick often, have more headaches and/or chronic pain.
Fatigue: You feel tired all of the time and have no energy for life.
Guilt: You have given up activities or hobbies, socializing with friends and doing things you love out of guilt.
SIX WAYS TO PREVENT CAREGIVER BURNOUT:
Now that you know the signs, here are some simple strategies to help you destress, keep your sense of balance and make yourself a more positive and better caregiver.
- GET SUPPORT. Find someone you trust to talk to about your feelings. Look into joining a support group where you can share your experiences and frustrations with others who will understand.
- GET REAL. Be realistic about what you are able to do and what you will need help with. There may be a time when you have to look for additional outside help to get the best care possible for your loved one.
- GET HELP. If you are feeling signs of stress, look into temporary respite care or home health agencies. If needed, begin to research assisted living or dementia care facilities in your area to see if they could be part of a future plan for a higher level of care.
- GET RELIEF. Make time for yourself every day and find whatever relaxation techniques help you destress like yoga, meditation, gardening or calming music.
- GET MOVING. Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or mow the grass. Any form of physical activity can help reduce stress. Even 10 minutes a few times a day will help.
- GET SELF CARE. Most importantly, set aside time to take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating well, exercising when possible and getting the healthcare you need. In order for you to be a good caregiver, you need to be healthy and happy.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU:
When the time comes to look for a higher level of care for your loved one, Oasis Dementia Care is here for you. We know it’s hard when someone you love has Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia. Recognizing it. Getting them diagnosed. Wondering what to do next. And then, feeling like you have to take care of them 24/7 when you really just want to focus on being their daughter or son or spouse, and not their constant caregiver.
Our care starts with compassion and empathy for the memory-care individual, as well as their family. We want you to know that it’s important for family members to stay connected and to continue to engage your loved ones along the way and not turn away from them.
When you choose a memory care facility for your loved one, you’re not letting go of the special bond you share with them. You’re making it stronger and you’re making your relationship better. You’re not letting them down. You’re lifting them up by letting us do the 24-hour care-taking so that you can enjoy your relationship, and they can enjoy life to the fullest in an enriching environment.