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How Can I Prevent Caregiver Burnout?

It is really easy to feel like you need to be a hero, but you are human. You are facing something really complex and challenging. It would be bizarre if it wasn't overwhelming sometimes. It would be very weird if you were happy all the time about caregiving. The first thing you need to know above all other things is that your feelings are normal. You are doing a hero's work but you are a human being and caring for yourself is so very important.

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent caregiver burnout:

  1. Talk to someone. If you can speak with a therapist. Talk to friends. Make sure you have someone that you can vent with, share your fears and open up. 
  2. It is ok to get help. It is ok to really push your other family members to step up. Again, you are human and this is hard work. 
  3. It can be hard to face the challenges that your family member is struggling with. Make sure you have an outside observer that can help you to keep perspective. 
  4. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Get sleep. Take a bath. This is a marathon not a sprint. Taking time for yourself is going to help everyone. 
  5. Take advantage of respite care services. Respite care provides a temporary break for caregivers. 
  6. Try to limit alcohol. It is super easy to feel like you need a few drinks to unwind at the end of a long day. It would be reasonable to feel that way. Try to keep your health in check by using other ways to unwind when possible. 

Top 10 Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout

Almost everyone will become a caregiver of someone over the age of 50 at some point in your life. Most of us are not prepared for caregiving and when we embark on that path it is really easy to become susceptible to 'caregiver burnout'. It is really important to recognize the signs of burnout and to make sure you get the help you need. 

  1. Withdrawal from friends and family
  2. Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  3. Feeling depressed
  4. Increase or decrease in appetite, weight, or both
  5. Disrupted sleep patterns
  6. Getting sick more often
  7. Feelings of self harm or the person for whom you are caring
  8. Emotional and physical exhaustion
  9. Excessive use of alcohol and/or sleep medications
  10. Irritability

We will be writing about ways to handle caregiver burnout!