Caring for a loved one, family member or friend who is unable to care for themselves can be fulfilling and rewarding. However as the primary caregiver, there may be instances where you feel isolated and exhausted. You may even be neglecting your own needs and health without realizing it, until it’s too late.
It is therefore essential to learn when and how to recognize caregiver burnout and equip yourself with practical tools to support your own well-being.
Caregiver burnout is a state when you feel physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted when you dedicate most or all of your time and effort in managing the health and safety of someone else.
Symptoms of caregiver burnout may include but not limited to the following:
- Emotional and physical exhaustion.
- Feelings of guilt, irritability, helplessness or anger.
- Loss of interest, changes in appetite and social withdrawal.
There are many factors that could lead to caregiver burnout. A combination of multiple responsibilities, concurrent complex priorities, and lack of control on resources or skills needed to plan, manage and care can be the perfect storm that dims your light away.
It is important to acknowledge that these feelings are normal for a burned-out caregiver, but it is essential that proper self-care is maintained.
For you to continue caring for a loved one and for yourself, the following tips may help:
- Make time for self-care.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to share responsibilities with other family members or friends. Seek out a few hours of respite and look for available community resources such as adult day care centres or home health care providers to help you with chores at home and caring for your family.
- Stay healthy and connected.
Maintain good health by eating a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. Go outside for walks, fresh air, read a book, or connect with friends on a regular basis. A manicure-pedicure or a wine with friends will do you good.
- Talk to a healthcare provider.
It helps to reach out to someone who understands your struggles at caregiving. A care team, counsellor, social worker or mental health professional are skilled and trained to support you in this journey. They could refer you to available support groups and resources in your community.
According to caregivers’ lived experiences, up-to-date evidence and as endorsed by healthcare organizations and professionals, respite care is an effective way to prevent and manage caregiver burnout.
Respite care, a form of temporary relief for caregivers, can be for a few hours, days or an over-the-weekend care.
This can happen within the comforts of your own home when a care provider comes to care for your family member while you are taking some much-needed and well-deserved time to care for yourself.
AllCare Nursing provides respite care by caring for your family member in the comfort of your own homes. Home care helps in maintaining a familiar surroundings and having consistent routines to maintain the ease and safety that have already been established for your loved one.