Caring for an aging loved one can be a daunting job. At first, one jumps at the chance to be the primary family caregiver. Showering the senior in your life with attention and compassion is extremely rewarding. However, as the months roll on and turn into years or even decades, the caregiving task gradually leads to exhaustion and feelings of defeat. No matter how much devotion you pour into your loved one’s care, the senior’s condition continues to naturally deteriorate. Hopelessness ensues. Caregiving burnout is the inevitable outcome.
A lack of extra support in the caregiving responsibilities boils down to undue stress. The family caregiver’s immediate family unit also suffers. Depression, stress and fatigue are additional consequences of long-term caregiving. In fact, 38 percent of caregivers report their situation is extremely stressful. Responsibly transporting a loved one to regular doctor’s appointments, providing constant supervision and assisting the senior with routine activities of daily life, all while maintaining one’s own emotional and physical life, is an overwhelming challenge.
Often overlooked is that despite the intensive demands of being a responsible family caregiver, providing compassionate support to a loved one increases the happiness and health of the caregiver. Even with the joy that ensues when caring for an aging senior, caregivers are eventually burdened with conflicting feelings of guilt and emotional burnout.
Here are some tips on how to battle family caregiver burnout:
1. Recognize Stress
Manage caregiving burnout by first recognizing the telltale signs of overwork. Common signs of increased stress include eating and drinking excessively, development or exacerbation of health issues and trouble sleeping. Feelings of anxiety, irritability and depression are also signs of emotional stress. As a care recipient gradually requires more of your time, cutting back on leisure activities may result. Resentment grows, and your life is no longer your own.
Symptoms of burnout are intertwined with signs of stress and include feeling hopeless and helpless. Becoming impatient or irritable with the care recipient is a strong indication of burnout. Even upon sleeping, a weary caregiver experiences continual exhaustion. A caregiver who has too much on her plate neglects her own needs because she no longer cares or is too busy. When a family caregiver fails to feel satisfied with the caregiving responsibilities, though her life revolves around the senior’s condition, she is straddled with a classic case of caregiving burnout.
2. Ease Burnout
Caring for a loved one can seem endless and heartbreaking, especially when the senior’s condition continues to spiral downward despite extensive support. Increase your physical and emotional health through daily acts of appreciation. Remind yourself that if your loved one were able, she would express her gratitude. Create a list of how your support is beneficial to the care recipient; refer to this list when exhaustion takes over. Discuss your efforts with a friend or family member, who will acknowledge and positively reinforce your good deeds.
As the family caregiver, you have decided to provide meaningful care to a loved one. Motivate yourself by focusing on the many positive reasons you’ve chosen to support the senior in your life. You may not be able to cure your loved one’s illness or be able to force additional family help, but you can control how you react to issues. Rejoice in the seemingly minor triumphs—helping the senior feel loved, comfortable and safe—which means a whole lot to your loved one.
3. Recruit Support
Caregiving burnout can be eased with respite care. Short-term help from in-home caregivers offers immeasurable relief from the daily demands of caregiving. Options other than professional in-home caregiving include the help from nearby family and friends. Volunteers are also available to provide basic in-home services. Respite programs are also offered through adult day care and nursing homes.
4. Address Guilt
When seeking additional help for your loved one, feelings of guilt may arise. As a family caregiver, you may experience the obligation to single-handedly accomplish all tasks related to caring for the elderly individual. Or, the care recipient may prefer that you perform all caregiving responsibilities rather than bringing in outside help. As a result, you may feel torn between supporting your loved one’s wishes and realizing the importance of enlisting respite care.
A senior will take time to gradually adjust to respite care. Knowing your loved one is in good hands diminishes any remnants of guilt. When you are unable to offer constant supervision, a respite care provider is trained to ensure the physical safety of elderly individuals who are prone to falls or injury.
Respite care is invaluable to both caregivers and care recipients. Hiring respite services allows you, as the family caregiver, to take a well-deserved break from the daily strains of caregiving, while ensuring the senior continues to receive compassionate care. Being refreshed and well-rested, you are able to provide improved focus and attention to your loved one. Whenever you need a break or period of rejuvenation, a respite service is available to meet your needs.
Work with a Respite Caregiver
When feelings of burnout overwhelm your daily life, contact the most trusted name in in-home care, Assisting Hands Home Care. The home care agency offers dependable respite care to families. Respite care is flexible as a short-term, temporary option. Care can be accommodated during a variety of shifts, whether mornings, afternoons, evenings, nights, weekends or holidays.
The Assisting Hands Home Care team offers several services that are included in the agency’s respite care program. Assistance is provided for running errands, shopping for groceries, preparing meals, bathing and transportation, for example.
Upon meeting with the family and care recipient, the Assisting Hands Home Care management team develops a customized, temporary plan of care. Designed to meet the short-term needs of the family, respite care from Assisting Hands Home Care allows family caregivers the opportunity to take a vacation, attend social engagements and commit to personal appointments. Assisting Hands Home Care reliably serves the elder populations in the Fort Myers, FL communities.
Get a Free Consultation
To request a free consultation for our respite care services in Fort Myers, FL or the surrounding areas, contact Assisting Hands Home Care at (239) 221-6326.