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Everything you need to know about caregiver burnout

Caregiver with senior care recipient holding hands.

With 1 in 3 adults in the United States currently providing care to another adult as a caregiver, chances are you know someone or you are someone who is doing so. A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need, such as a family member, parent, child with a disability, or an aging relative. Balancing caregiving on top of your job, social life, and personal wellbeing can be very difficult, but with the right information, you can stress a bit less. Keep reading to learn what exactly caregiver burnout is, the signs to watch for, and how to manage it all.

What is it?

Providing care as a caregiver is a job that’s both physically and emotionally demanding. With that being said, it’s not shocking that it can greatly affect one’s health and wellbeing. Caregiver burnout is a state of mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion that occurs from caring for someone else and can be experienced by both care professionals and family caregivers. (In this blog, we will refer to care professionals as those who are hired by a family to be the sole caregiver and family caregivers as the family member who is providing full-time care.) The signs and causes may be different for each individual who experiences burnout, but the importance of being able to recognize it is all the same. If caregiver burnout is not addressed and treated, caregivers may end up not providing the best quality of care. 

What causes caregiver burnout?

The causes of caregiver burnout can vary between care professionals and family caregivers. Some of the common factors for family caregivers include:

  • Financial pressures
  • Isolation
  • Fear or uncertainty of your loved one’s condition
  • Lack of alone time
  • Demands of providing around-the-clock care
  • Guilt of possibly not providing the best care
  • Roles shifting: If the person you are caring for has not always needed care, it can be tough to now see them needing assistance with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing, especially if they were the ones who once took care of you.

 

For care professionals, caregiver burnout can be caused by:

  • Long hours in a high demand job
  • Stress within your personal life
  • Insufficient pay
  • Lack of control in patient’s outcome

 

Signs of caregiver burnout

Knowing the signs of caregiver burnout is important so you can take action and prevent the situation from worsening. Signs to watch for include:

  • Anger towards the person you’re caring for
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Denial about your loved one’s condition
  • Getting sick more often than usual
  • Irritability
  • Physical fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
  • Weight change
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

 

Strategies to cope with the stress of caregiving

While you most likely will not be able to prevent yourself from experiencing any stress, there are steps caregivers can take to keep the stress under control.

  • Take care of YOU! You’re doing such a great job caring for others, now make sure to add yourself to that list. Take care of your mental and physical health by doing things like hobbies you enjoy, catching up on sleep, pampering yourself, staying hydrated – you know the drill!
  • Socialize: Although being a caregiver can be very time consuming, it’s important to still maintain your relationships with friends and family. Staying social can improve your happiness and help you avoid feelings of isolation. 
  • Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to let another caregiver step in so you can take a break and refuel. Joshin makes it easy to find experienced, background checked, and qualified caregivers in your area who can provide respite care when you need it. When scheduling for someone to come take over, make sure you are clear about everything they’ll need to do while providing care so that there are no surprises for them while you are away. 
  • Inform your employer: It’s not uncommon for family caregivers to keep quiet about their caregiving responsibilities while they are at work. However, your company may have caregiver-related programs that could make managing both caregiving and your job easier.
  • Join a support group: Talking with other family caregivers can help you feel less alone in your caregiving journey. Joining a support group for caregivers can also provide an opportunity for socialization along with the chance to learn some coping strategies and other caregiving tips. Online support groups can provide you with a place to ask questions, tell stories, or share some struggles you have been dealing with.

 

For support, join Joshin’s Facebook groups: 

 

  • Seek professional guidance: If you prefer one-on-one support over a group setting, talking to a therapist could be a good option for you. This can give you a safe space to express your wants and needs. It’s important to find a therapist you feel comfortable confiding in to get the most out of your therapy sessions.
  • Consider respite care: Respite care is a great resource for caregivers to take advantage of that will provide some temporary relief from the stresses of caregiving. You can lean on Joshin to find quality caregivers to provide respite care for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or for whatever length of time best fits your needs. 

 

While you may not be able to take away all the stress that comes with caregiving, it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to create more balance. We hope by taking these steps you can stress a little less, and remember to focus on your health and wellbeing. You got this!

Schedule respite care today: https://bit.ly/3lOmeoj