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Signs of Caregiver Burnout

caregiver and mother embrace and look at each other smiling

Caregiver Burnout and Ways to Reduce the Stress

While many family caregivers see helping their aging loved one as a rewarding experience and most provide incredible care and a warm environment, they still face a fair amount of stress that affects them both. This can lead to complete exhaustion and caregiver burnout.

Read this guide from our experts at Artis Senior Living on the signs of burnout and learn tips on how to cope with the stress of being a caregiver. With this valuable information, you can practice more self-care, while also providing a high-quality life for your aging loved one.

What Is a Family Caregiver?

A family caregiver is defined as any relative, spouse, friend, or neighbor who has a close relationship with an older adult with or without dementia, while also providing a broad range of assistance for activities of daily living (ADLs).

Here are examples of day-to-day responsibilities for a caregiver:

  • Grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry
  • Helping your family member get dressed, bathe, and use the bathroom
  • Making medical appointments and driving them to the doctor
  • Managing medications
  • Transferring them in and out of bed

Family caregivers are an important part of the healthcare system. They often perform complex and therapeutic tasks that ensure their loved one is getting the care they need to have a high-quality life. Caregivers also act as care coordinators and personal advocates for their loved one.

What Is Caregiver Burnout?

Apart from being physically exhausting, complex caregiving can also be emotionally and mentally draining, which can lead to caregiver burnout. In fact, 23% of Americans say caregiving has made their own health worse. However, many caregivers are so busy providing a quality life for their loved one that they don’t notice how exhausted they really are.

If you’re taking care of a loved one, here are 5 common signs you might be on the road to caregiver burnout:

  • Depression. Several studies report high levels of depression and other mental health issues among caregivers. This is because they feel guilty there’s nothing they can do to slow the declining health of a loved one or they’re not providing their loved one with the right amount of care to help them thrive.
  • Anxiety. Managing too many responsibilities, feeling like you’re not in control of your own situation, fearing for your own and a loved one’s future, financial responsibilities, and coordinating care can bring on various and overwhelming states of anxiety that interfere with having a positive outlook on life.
  • Loneliness. It’s easy to lose your sense of self when you spend most of your time working and caring for others. You might feel you have nothing to talk about, because your life is all about caregiving,or you might feel guilty spending time on self-care. When you can’t find time for yourself to truly reset, it’s time to reach out for help from assisted living experts or consider moving your loved one to a senior living community.
  • Fatigue. 36.7% of caregivers report poor sleep quality. If you have a family member with dementia who likes to explore at night,or you worry about their safety while you’re asleep, you might have trouble getting adequate rest. This is another leading cause of depression and poor physical health in caregivers.
  • Anger and frustration. Anger and frustration are normal parts of providing regular care to a person of any age. However, caring for an older adult who needs a lot of help or a loved one with dementia can be particularly difficult. While you can’t be in control of your emotions 24/7, if you get more frustrated with your loved one as time passes by, you might suffer from caregiver burnout.

How to Cope with the Stress of Being a Caregiver

As hard as you try, you can’t stop your loved one from aging. However, there are things you can do to take care of your personal well-being and meet your own needs, so you can face common caregiving challenges with a positive attitude.

Self-care comes in many forms. Here a just a few ways you can take a break from caregiving to avoid burnout:

  • Find a support group. There are more than 34 million Americans providing care for an older adult, which means there’s a good chance a friend or another family member is also a caregiver for an older adult. Find someone you can talk to about caregiving challenges or look for a support group in your area.
  • Make a care plan. Developing a care plan can help you manage both your and your loved one’s life. It summarizes a person’s health conditions, current medications, healthcare providers, and more to make advanced planning easier. Care plans have been shown to reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations, as well as improve overall quality of care for older adults. Plus, the resources provided in a customized care plan can help you lead a healthy life of your own.
  • Consider Respite Care.This temporary relief from care enables you to take a much-needed break from the demands of caregiving. You can take your loved one or a senior living community that offers respite care or have a professional caregiver come to your home.
  • Consider Assisted Living or Memory Care.Senior living communities, like Artis Senior Living of Lakeview, offer a safe and enriching environment where residents can get plenty of social activity, receive the right amount of assistance when they need it, and learn techniques for maintaining an independent lifestyle from an expert care team.. You’ll be able to rest at night knowing your family member is always taken care of and get more time to take care of yourself.
  • Celebrate yourself. Although you might be stressed in a particular situation now, it won’t last forever. It’s important to look at the bigger picture, and see you’re still doing a great job. Your loved one is healthy and happy because of you, and that’s always worth celebrating.

Discover How Your Loved One Can Benefit from The Artis Way

Artis Senior Living collaborates with families to learn every detail about your loved one, so we can create positive partnerships that honor their interests, engage their mind and provide meaningful experiences every day. To learn how Artis Senior Living can be your partner throughout your loved one’s stay in Memory Care or Assisted Living, contact our support team online. Don’t forget to sign up for our eNewsletter, where you can receive helpful information, stories and practical advice for families and caregivers.

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