When you are a family caregiver to a parent, you may find yourself putting their needs ahead of your own. That’s not unusual since you want to do what is right for your parent and make sure they are well taken care of. Wanting your parent to have all the help they need is a good thing, but it can mean that you neglect your own life and health. When this happens, you may experience caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state in which the caregiver feels physically or emotionally exhausted by their responsibilities. Even for those who are new to caregiving, caregiver burnout is a very real concern that should be safeguarded against.
Causes of Burnout
There are many issues that can cause caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout can occur when the caregiver does too much either physically or financially, or when they do not receive the help they need. Other common causes of burnout include:
- Having multiple roles, like being a caregiver to a parent, while also having to parent a child and work to support the family.
- Feeling like the work of being a caregiver never ends because of an endless list of tasks and responsibilities, which can leave you feeling like you don’t accomplish anything.
- Wanting to do things perfectly can leave you focusing on only the things you don’t get quite right, leaving you feeling like a failure.
- Taking on tasks that you would rather not do, but feel obligated to. You may sometimes feel like if you don’t do something, no one else will. When you continuously take on duties you do not want to perform, you could end up feeling resentful.
Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout affects the level of care a person is able to provide to their parent and can also put the caregiver’s health at risk. Recognizing the symptoms means you can get help sooner so that both you and your parent can be healthy. Symptoms of caregiver burnout include:
- You catch every illness that goes through your work office or that your children bring home from school.
- You find yourself becoming more and more impatient or irritated with your parent.
- You neglect yourself because you’re too busy or you just don’t care.
- You’re tired all the time.
- You feel hopeless.
- You withdraw from family, friends, and activities you once enjoyed.
- You find yourself drinking or abusing medications like sleeping pills.
- You experience mood swings, such as feeling angry one minute and then sad the next.
What to Do Next
If you believe you are suffering from caregiver burnout, the most important thing you can do is to seek help now. Finding a support group for caregivers will provide you with a place where you can safely express your emotions and know that you are not alone. Make an appointment with your doctor to have your own health checked and try to turn your focus toward taking care of yourself by eating healthy and getting some exercise. Finally, recognize that you cannot do everything on your own. Hiring an in-home caregiver through an agency can help relieve some of the burden of caregiving. They can perform many of the tasks you do, such as helping your parent to bathe, dress, and prepare meals, as well as some light housecleaning. The extra help will leave you with more time to focus on yourself and your family, making you a happier and healthier caregiver to your parent.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional caregiver services in Lafayette, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.