There are about 34.2 million people providing unpaid care for an adult over the age of 50 in the United States. Some people do not know the difficulties and troubles of being a caregiver for an elderly parent, family member, or friend.
Being a caregiver is a physically and mentally draining responsibility but it can be very rewarding too. There are a few ways you can help yourself to avoid caregiver burnout.
Keep reading for our inspirational tips for avoiding caregiver burnout that can help you be a better caregiver.
What Is Caregiver Burnout?
To figure out how to avoid caregiver burnout you need to know exactly what it is. You may be experiencing caregiver burnout if you feel emotional, mental, and/or physical exhaustion. Caregiving is sometimes a very long and windy road that can cause you many different forms of stress along the way.
Sometimes caregiver burnout can result from your family member not getting or doing better. We try so hard to make life easier and better for them that we forget to take care of ourselves.
You may also feel some caregiver burnout if you’re not getting the support you need. Depending on the person you’re caring for, they may not adequately be able to thank you or show appreciation. You need family and friends to help cheer you on to help avoid burnout.
How to Avoid Burnout
Think you’re experiencing caregiver burnout? Keep reading to find out and learn how to combat it.
When it comes to caring for an elderly person they sometimes have a plethora of health problems. If you aren’t informed of all of their health issues and how to handle them, then this could be a huge challenge and cause a lot of stress for you.
The best way to learn all about the person you’re caring for is to go to their doctor appointments, especially if they have multiple doctors. Let the doctor know that you’re their caregiver so they can help to teach you what they need.
This way you can better learn the medicines they take or the procedures that need to be done. Knowing exactly what to do for your loved one will help to take some of that stress away. You will feel confident in caring for them by learning everything there is to know.
Help Them Help Themselves
With some elderly people, there are things you can do for them that will make your job easier. You can get a no-slip seat in the shower or bathtub or install a grab bar for them to hold onto in the bathroom or near their bed. You could help them by moving the items that they frequently use to an easy to reach area or lay their pills out so they know exactly what to take.
Having them do things independently will take a lot of the physical and mental exhaustion off of you. They will also feel a sense of accomplishment that they can still do some things on their own. Unfortunately, this won’t work for every single elderly person, depending on their health, but it could help for some.
Try to Make It Fun
Just like any job, you may not feel that being a caregiver is fun, but you can do things to help that. Try your best to help your loved one do activities that they used to do if they’re still able. Take them out on a walk or let them sit on a park bench and people watch.
Do things that make the job fun for you and the person you’re caring for. If there is a movie that they want to see, then make a day of it and take them out to the movies. Or if they enjoy gardening, then pot a few plants and let them help you.
Live Your Own Life
We all only get one life so you also need to remember to live your own. Taking care of someone we love is a huge job and sometimes people get too wrapped up into it.
Make sure to have your own hobbies or things to take your mind off caregiving. Whether you take time to relax and read a book, hang out with friends or family, or even do something with a church group.
Sometimes people feel like they need to quit their jobs or careers to adequately provide the best care. Try to make this your last and final option. Quitting your job means no extra income and no free time away from your caregiver job.
Take Care of Your Own Needs
As a caregiver, you need to recognize when it is time to take care of yourself. You need to make sure you’re taking care of your own health by eating healthy meals and drinking lots of water.
Try to set aside time for working out and make sure you have a good sleep routine. Taking care of and providing for yourself will be the number one way to relieve stress built up from the job.
Ask for Help
Sometimes the job of caregiving may become too much for a single person to handle. Make sure to ask for help when and if you need it. Try to have a backup family member who can help you out in an emergency situation or if you just need a day off.
There are also many options for your loved one to use assisted living or board and care homes. Although many elderly people feel they aren’t ready to go into a nursing home, there are options for you to get some help. Make sure to do your research and find the best option for your loved one.
Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Even if you try your best to avoid caregiver burnout, sometimes it can still happen. Make sure you take time to sit and reflect so you can see how you can make the job easier on you and your loved one.
Care Partners at Home is the best way to help you and your loved one if you needed it. Contact us today for a consultation to learn about all your options.