Your aging in place elderly mother is chronically ill, so you’ve been serving as her sole caregiver for several months now. But between getting mom to her doctor’s appointments and treatments, and helping her around the house, you hardly have time to take care of yourself. You’re having trouble sleeping, constantly feel stressed-out, and can’t remember the last time you went to the gym. Are you starting to get caregiver burnout? If so, avoiding caregiver burnout is possible when you use these 5 tips from the experts.
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Due to the daily stress and workload placed on family caregivers, notably when they also have a household and job to manage, it’s not uncommon for them to experience a condition called “caregiver fatigue”. Once fatigue sets in, if lifestyle changes aren’t made it can lead to full-blown caregiver burnout- which places their health and wellbeing, and that of the care recipient, at risk.
Signs of caregiver burnout include:
- Feeling emotionally and physically drained all day
- Losing interest in social activities once enjoyed
- Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
- Feeling depressed, anxious, helpless and hopeless
- Abusing alcohol and drugs, including prescription medications
- Getting sick more often
- Poor eating habits, accompanied by noticeable weight gain or loss
If you have one or more of these symptoms, not making some positive changes can lead to even more serious physical, emotional and relational problems.
Staying Refreshed as a Caregiver
The key to avoiding caregiver burnout is recognizing its early warning signs, and then finding healthy ways to stay refreshed and recharged. But how can your loved one still receive the nurturing care they deserve? Fortunately, both are possible when you use these 5 steps:
Know Your Limitations
Even if you spend every waking hour caring for mom, her condition is probably going to worsen. Come to terms with that fact, and set realistic daily or weekly goals for keeping her comfortable. For example, just getting mom to take a walk or eat all her dinner may be an accomplishment you can celebrate together. You’re only human after all, so know your limitations.
Take Care of Yourself
How can you care for someone else when you’re not taking care of yourself? Keep your mind and body strong by:
- Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes several times a week
- Getting an annual physical at your doctor’s office
- Eating a healthy diet
- Not abusing alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping 7 to 8 hours per day
Release Your Pent-up Emotions
Many family caregivers, especially if they’re shouldering the responsibilities by themselves, carry around a lot of pent-up emotions, including anger, resentment and frustration. Find positive ways to express your feelings by:
- Speaking to a professional counselor or clergy member
- Joining a caregiver support group
- Talking to a close friend
- Keeping a daily journal
Enjoy Some “Me” Time
Take some much-deserved “me” time to pamper and reward yourself for your efforts. Here are some fun ways to do so:
- Enjoy a spa day
- Go to dinner and a movie with your spouse or close friend
- Take in a concert or play
- Spend the day at a park
- Lounge around binge-watching your favorite TV show or reading a book
Seek Outside Assistance
Talk to your siblings about taking your place for a week, even if it means traveling to get there. After all, mom is their parent too. Or, consider having a close friend or trusted neighbor step in for a few days. Other local respite care options you have include:
- Adult daycare
- Volunteers who assist the elderly
- Senior transportation and meal delivery services
- Hiring a respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency
We’ve Got the Cure for Caregiver Burnout
Caring for an aging in place elderly loved one is rewarding, but it can also wear you down when you have a household to manage or live far away. When you need a “pick-me-up”, call Optimal Senior Care Solutions. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, our carefully screened respite caregivers will step in and deliver the compassionate care your senior needs so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be.
Our experienced respite caregivers can perform in-home duties like light housework, meals, personal hygiene, medication reminders, transportation and companionship. And, all our family trusted home care services can be individually tailored in an affordable package to put your mind at ease. To learn more about Optimal Senior Care Solutions, or to schedule an in-home assessment for your senior, please visit: optimalseniorcaresolutions.com today!