Baby boomers that are taking care of their elderly parents or a sick spouse may end up with caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion which can be accompanied by a change in attitude. A change from a positive and caring attitude to a negative and unconcerned attitude. Burnout can occur if the caregiver doesn’t get the help they need, or try to do more then they are able to do either physically or financially. Caregiver burnout is experienced by fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Caregivers obtain burnout because they experience guilt when they spend time on themselves, and not on their ill or elderly loved ones. Spending time on yourself helps to alleviate burnout. Caregiver burnout is similar to symptoms of stress and depression. In fact, caregiver burnout can create depression in the caregiver. It can be overwhelming taking care of a parent of an ill spouse, especially when the caregiver feels they have little to no control over the situation, or feel they are in over their head. The stress of caregivers can turn into burnout if it is left unchecked. The stress of caregiver can take a toll on the caregiver’s health, relationships, and their state of mind. In addition, when the caregiver is burned out it’s tough taking care of anything, or anybody.
People are living longer and are being taken care of at home. In today’s economy that is hard for many individuals to do, but they do it, because it is family. Furthermore, many individuals take care of loved ones at home because of a promise. A promise they would not let them die in a hospital or live in a nursing home. This can also add stress to the caregiver and add to the caregiver’s guilt when they do for themselves. It is important for caregiver’s to take care of themselves. The Alzheimer’s Association website addresses the caregiver in their caregiver center.
Taking on all of the responsibilities of caregiver without regular breaks or assistance is a surefire recipe for burnout. Don’t try to do it all alone. Look into respite care, or enlist friends and family who live near you to run errands, bring a hot meal, or sit with your loved so you the caregiver can take a well-deserved break. It is important to get help with caring for your loved one, so speak up. Don’t expect friends or family members to automatically know what you need or how you’re feeling. Be up front with them tell them what is going on with your loved one. In addition, do not take the responsibility on yourself. Try to get as many family members involved as possible, even those that are far away, they can help with resources of even vacations to come and help. It is also good to have someone to check in on you and your loved one on a weekly basis. Furthermore, when someone offers to help say yes, don’t feel guilty for accepting the help.
Caregivers it is important that you recognize the signs of caregiver burnout, which is the first step to dealing with the problem. The signs of caregiver burnout are anxiety, depression, irritability, feeling tired and run down, along with trouble concentrating. Don’t let it escalate to full blown burnout. Remember as caregiver if you are not health both physically and mentally, then it gets harder to take care of your loved one. It is important the caregiver is taken care of so the caregiver can take care of the person who is in need of care.