The demands of caring for an aging in place loved one can be overwhelming at times, and there are days when it feels like you’re in over your head. Toss in a job and household to manage and you’ve got the perfect recipe for caregiver fatigue. If you’re not careful chronic fatigue can transition into full-blown caregiver burnout, and once that happens the health and wellbeing of both you and your care recipient are placed at risk. Fortunately, avoiding the effects of caregiver fatigue and burnout is possible when taking these steps.
Signs of Caregiver Fatigue and Burnout
Although caregiving is highly rewarding, it also comes with daily stressors. Over time that stress builds up, and if you don’t get the physical and emotional support you need it can cause myriad health problems.
As a caregiver beware of these fatigue and burnout warning signs:
- You have much less energy than you used to.
- You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available.
- You feel helpless and hopeless.
- You are constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking time off.
- Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction.
- You are becoming increasingly more impatient and irritable towards the person that you’re caring for.
How to Enjoy a Healthier Life Balance
Once caregiving responsibilities start to consume all your time and energy it places a strain on other relationships, including your marriage. To help prevent that from happening here are several ways to find a healthier balance in your life:
Know your limitations
No matter how hard you try your loved one’s condition is going to get worse due to the aging process itself. It’s normal to feel guilty sometimes but also understand that there’s no such thing as the “perfect” caregiver. With that in mind focus on making your loved one feel more comfortable and celebrate small victories along the way – like getting mom to take a walk.
Set realistic goals
Break up large tasks into smaller “chunks” that you can realistically do without feeling overwhelmed. Create a prioritized list of caregiving responsibilities and establish a daily routine. It’s also okay to say “no” sometimes, like when your child’s teacher asks you to bake cookies for the holiday school program.
Take care of yourself
Take care of your body and your mind will follow. That means exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol and avoid tobacco products altogether. Be sure to get all the recommended vaccinations and see your doctor at least once a year for a health screening.
Many informal caregivers tend to wall themselves off from the outside world and that’s not healthy. Stay connected with your close friends and family members by taking a weekend getaway, going out to lunch or attending your kids’ activities.
Pamper yourself at least once a month by getting a massage, buying a new pair of shoes or going on a date with your significant other. After all, you deserve a reward for all the time and effort that you’ve been putting in!
Join a support group
Being around a group of like-minded individuals who are going through the same thing will provide you with much-needed validation and encouragement. Join a local caregiver support group or find one online through the Family Caregiver Alliance.
Ask for outside assistance
Don’t let pride cloud your judgement when your health is on the line. Instead, ask for help from trusted family members, neighbors or friends. Other providers of senior caregiving services in your community may include:
You can also find some “respite care” assistance through the Eldercare Locator or by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging office.
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Arizona Seniors
At Adultcare Assistance Homecare we are a locally owned home care agency that’s been providing Arizona families with award-winning support for over 20 years now. As a top-tier care provider, our professionally trained and carefully screened respite caregivers help seniors live independently in the comfort of their own homes so they won’t have to go it alone. Every manager at Adultcare Assastance Homecare is a caregiver first, and manager second.
We never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts and even offer personalized care plans with flexible schedules and services to accommodate any budget. If you or a loved one live in the Phoenix, Sun City or Tucson, AZ, area and would like to schedule a no obligation consultation today, call us or fill out our convenient contact form now.