Monday, January 26, 2009

How To Prevent Caregiver Burnout

The Ultimate Caregiver's Guide For Today's Families!

Being a caregiver is the ultimate way to show
love, kindness and devotion to a loved one in

At some point in time, a family member will
need assistance with daily living and you will
have to step into the adult caregiver role –
perhaps to care for an elderly parent.

As the general population is growing older
and living longer, there is an escalating need
for adult caregiving and many families step
into that role to fulfill that need.

While caregiving can be rewarding, it is a role
that is also fraught with anxiety, fear, fatigue,
stress and yes, resentment. And...oh, the guilt
that comes whenever you feel resentful!

The possibility of burnout is quite high in adult
caregivers and as a result, there are steps that
should be taken to ensure that not only is your
loved one well cared for but that you are as well.

If you are not happy and are stressed and tired
all the time, how will that translate to your
caregiving role?

Half the battle is recognizing that you are close
to burning out and the other half is doing
something about it.

You have to recognize that your own physical,
emotional and mental health is just as important,
if not more, than your loved one. If you collapse,
what help will you be to anyone?

Plus, you have to know when to ask for help and
not be shy about it. Here are some important
caregiver tips to prevent burnout:

Research your options for temporary long-term
and short-term care when you need to take a vacation,
a long weekend away or if you have to leave for an

There are many agencies that offer in-home care
or companion assistance, just as there are facilities
that accept short-term patients should your loved
one require constant care. Have these alternate
caregivers waiting in the wings should you need them.

2. Schedule regular time away from your caregiving
role. Enlist the help of siblings, friends and neighbors
who can effectively watch over your loved one so that
you can take a break whether it is going to the movies,
going on a long walk or having a date night with your

3. Join a support group through church, on the
internet or even through a local agency. Commiserating
with other people going through the same thing can
greatly help your state of mind. (I would have lost
my mind if not for being able to vent to friends who
truly understood) This does NOT mean you don't love
the care receiver!

Knowing those feelings of anger and frustration are
normal definitely help diminish feeling guilty as well.
Plus, you may learn new ways to cope or find help
that you did not think of before.

4. Indulge in a hobby or something to take your
mind off matters. Gardening, cross stitching, walking,
listening to music and other activities can greatly
help divert your attention away from your stress
and give you a sense of well-being, sort of like
recharging your internal batteries to be able to
cope with your caregiving role more effectively.

5. Find time every day to pamper yourself so
that you have something to look forward to. It
may be waking 30 minutes early to savor a
gourmet cup of coffee in peace or soaking in a
hot tub full of bubbles.

Perhaps it is those precious minutes of reading
time while your loved one sleeps. Whatever
unravels those internal knots, if only for a little
while, is what you should do each day.

Always remember – it is not selfish to want
to be alone and it is ok and perfectly normal
to feel frustrated and angry about your situation.

You will realize many rewards in caregiving
such as getting to know your loved one more
but those rewards do come at a price sometimes.

By taking care of yourself first, you will be able
to take care of your loved ones more effectively
and efficiently.

The Ultimate Caregiver's Guide For Today's Families!