Four Signs that You Are Experiencing Caregiver Burnout
If you have recently become a family caregiver, then you are probably still adjusting to the role and learning from some very difficult experiences. Caregiving is a difficult task made even more difficult if you do not have previous experience. All of this stress can result in “caregiver burnout.” Below we will go over four signs of caregiver burnout and then what you can do to help yourself.
- Exhaustion and Feeling Tired: If you have been noticeably more exhausted since you’ve become a caregiver, then this is a telltale sign that you are experiencing burnout. Perhaps you have been up late worrying about certain decisions to make or you are making late night phone calls to other family members. Or maybe you are having difficulty sleeping because so much is going through your head. Lack of sleep and exhaustion are important matters to address if you want to be an effective caregiver.
- Feeling depressed: Caregiving for an elderly person forces you, in a way, to confront very unpleasant realities about finances, physical health, and the end of life. Processing these experiences can take a toll on your psyche and mental wellbeing. Compounded with the stresses of caregiving is the potential lack of sleep discussed above. All this can lead to despondence and depression.
- Weakened immune system: Stress and the above traits also contribute to a weakened immune system, which means you may be getting sick more often.
- Wanting to harm yourself or the one you are caring for: Unfortunately, depression often leads to thoughts of self-harm. Also, the complex and overwhelming role of a family caregiver can also lead you to think things you may feel ashamed of, like wanting to harm your loved one. These thoughts result from severe depression and being severely overwhelmed. They can also bring a lot of guilt. Handling these emotions and processing these experiences is a challenge in its own right.
Fortunately there are resources that you can rely on if you are experiencing caregiver burnout. Firstly, nurse registries like ElderCare at Home are meant to provide you help and relief. We refer trained professionals who are experienced in providing homecare. The caregivers we register are certified professionals who meet necessary requirements and background checks so you know you are hiring someone with experience and the relevant skill set. Additionally, you can seek out your local mental health professional who can help you think of some strategies to manage your stress, anxiety, and depression. You should also seek out a close, reliable friend with whom you can share your thoughts. Sometimes having the chance to share your emotions can be a huge relief since speaking about your experiences can help you process them. Lastly, services from organizations like the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center (ACRC) are meant to serve you, the family caregiver, during these difficult moments. ACRC provides counseling services that give you the opportunity to talk about challenging moments and to learn techniques to manage your stress as a caregiver.
If you have questions or want to learn more, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.