Many people feel that taking care of their elderly loved ones is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. After all, giving back to someone who’s had a profound impact on our lives is both an honor and a duty. However, caregiving can be just as exhausting as it is rewarding, and even the most dedicated caregiver can experience “caregiver fatigue”.
The most recent survey from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute tells us that caregiver stress is more prevalent in recent years. Eighteen percent of caregivers describe their own health and well-being as fair, while three percent describe it as poor. These numbers have increased since the 2015 survey, where only seventeen percent of caregivers fell into the fair/poor self-rated health category. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic most certainly added to caregiver’s stress and sense of personal wellness.
Another important finding from the aforementioned study, is that caregivers who work in a more demanding or intensive care environment show the most decline in their own personal health compared to five years ago. For a full reading of the study, click here.
As a leading home care agency, serving 45 counties across Pennsylvania, CareGivers America is committed to ensuring that everyone gets the care they deserve, including our dedicated and amazing caregivers. Today, we’re going to cover the signs of caregiver burnout and learn some prevention methods.
Signs of Caregiver Stress and Burnout
You can’t care for someone else until you care for yourself! That’s the philosophy we subscribe to at CareGivers America, because we recognize that stress can take a toll on every part of your life, including your job. That’s why it’s incredibly important for caregivers to recognize the signs of burnout and tackle them as early as possible.
- Lack of energy and constant fatigue, even after sleeping or taking a break
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling helpless, depressed, or anxious
- Ignoring your own physical, emotional, and mental health
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Increased impatience and irritability with patients or loved ones
- Difficulty coping with everyday things
- Lowered resistance to colds, flu, and illnesses
- Feeling that caregiving has taken over your life, but gives you little satisfaction
Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
Build a Support System — Just like any other job, caregiving can have its good days and its bad days. When you’re left feeling frustrated and upset, it’s important to have someone to talk to and vent to. You may choose to do so to a friend, family member, therapist, or even a caregiver support group.
Take Time for Yourself — Don’t let caregiving take over your whole life. That’s a one-way ticket to burnout for sure. Recharge your batteries by taking some time for yourself. Try going for a short walk or engaging in your favorite activity.
Stick to a Routine — It’s easier to stay on top of things when you have a routine to follow. Create a list of your daily activities, set realistic goals, and make sure you actually keep up with your routine. This can help you take control of your life.
Ask for Help — When things get to be too much, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Resources are always available to help you deal with any challenges you are facing.
Remember Why You Started Caregiving — Sometimes, a gentle reminder as to why you took on this role can have a monumental impact on your life and help you see things with new eyes.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a CareGivers America representative to learn more about what we can do to help you deal with or avoid caregiver burnout, if you’re one of our CareGivers or with another home health care agency. Having a team of happy and healthy CareGivers is what allows us to provide the highest quality caregiver services in Pennsylvania! Contact us today to learn more.