Caregiving can come in many forms, and it is a role that is both rewarding and stressful. Caregiving is often undertook by someone with no formal health care training, and no financial cushion to cope with the financial stress.
Relief can come in many different ways from a day off to seeking respite care for your loved one. If you or someone you know is displaying the signs of caregiver burnout, then read on for tips on how to seek assistance in caring for your loved one.
1) Know the Signs
Caregiving for a loved one can result in social isolation, depression and financial stress. These issues can lead to the feeling of being overwhelmed, which often leads to exhaustion and overconsumption of alcohol. If these signs are familiar to you or someone you know in a caregiving role, it is time to seek help and support.
2) Join a Support Group
Burnt out from caregiving? You are not alone. Burnout is a very common occurrence among caregivers. The guilt associated with caregiver fatigue is often a barrier for seeking help. Often a caregiver does not value his/her own health and wellbeing as much as that of the elderly relative or sick loved one. Joining a support group will help break down these barriers so the caregiver can maintain his/her own physical and mental health.
Additionally, support groups can also provide a sense of community and social acceptance, which can slip when someone takes up the role of a full-time or part-time carer. Caring for yourself is a vital part of being able to care for another person, and it’s important to give yourself options.
3) Accept Help
When a loved one is ill or ageing, often friends and family members and even employers will ask how they can help.
If a primary caregiver is uncomfortable accepting help, this often leads to caregiver burnout. If you are a primary caregiver, it is very important to find a way to accept the help that is offered. From meal deliveries to allowing others come in and care for your loved one; letting people in will help you and loved one in the long term.
4) Set Realistic Goals
Being a primary caregiver can often be overwhelming, especially if it feels many of the issues are out of your control.
You want to do everything you can to make your loved one feel comfortable and cared for, and obsessing over this can often lead to feelings of anxiety. So, if you do feel overwhelmed, it may be time to reassess what it means to achieve these goals. Setting realistic goals and benchmarks, such as making your loved one smile, or being creative with activities each week, will help maintain morale.
5) Set Personal Goals
As time goes on, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that your loved one’s comfort is more important than your own.
This can cause caregivers to fall behind on their own responsibilities and, in turn, stop caring for themselves effectively.
Life does not have to be consumed by caregiving. Set personal goals to maintain a sense of self and identity.
Personal and physical goals can be something you talk about with your loved one so he/she can be at ease that you have a life outside of caregiving.
6) The Next Step
Respite Care is a good option if you feel you cannot manage the caregiving yourself or if the health needs are beyond your scope of knowledge. Caregivers often feel they can handle everything, when in reality respite care is a far better option. Researching the best option in your community could bring some relief as quality care is available for your loved one. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, there are some exciting new innovations on how to care for the elderly.
Caregiver burnout is almost inevitable for those who don’t seek guidance, support and accept help. While caring for a loved one may feel isolating and overwhelming, there are numerous ways to get support for both the caregiver and the loved one. If being the primary caregiver is a role you choose, be sure to also choose to take care of yourself.