Being a caregiver is a noble and sacrificial undertaking with an understanding you are providing care and support to another human being who can’t provide for themselves without your assistance. It can also be very challenging if steps aren’t taken to ensure your wellness is a priority — and unfortunately, caregiver burnout is a common reality.
“Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. It may be accompanied by a change in attitude, from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able, physically or financially. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones. Caregivers who are ‘burned out’ may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression.”
Whether you’re currently caring for a loved one, the future may bring this responsibility your way, or you have a friend or family member showing signs they need help, learn more about tips for caregivers and the importance of wellness.
Caregiving can be stressful and challenging at times. One tip for first-time caregivers is to remember to be patient with yourself and with the person you are caring for. Remember that everyone copes with stress differently, so being patient and understanding goes a long way.
It’s important to set boundaries concerning various aspects of your care for someone. From the amount of time you give to making sure your personal life isn’t disrupted negatively, setting boundaries will benefit the giver and receiver.
Caregiving may be chaotic at times, so organization is key when it comes to your schedule and the schedule of the one you’re caring for — doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, medication dispensation, etc. It’s best to have a plan with days mapped out to ensure things are smooth and as stress-free as possible.
A large part of caregiver burnout is feeling drained, both emotionally and physically. It’s critical to take breaks and/or scheduled days off to help create space for your rejuvenation and personal interests.
There are many resources available for caregivers online and in person, such as virtual support groups, respite care, and more. Don’t be afraid to seek support from others so you’re not put in a position where shouldering the load of caregiving may lead to burnout.
Stay One Step Ahead
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do next — and that’s where caregivers need to be one step ahead. This can apply to both professional caregivers and those caring for a loved one. If you’re not sure what the person you’re caring for needs, ask. If you’re not sure what you need, reach out for help before it affects your wellness.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the best tips for caregivers is to take care of yourself. This means getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying healthy. Remember to make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, because it’s hard to take care of someone else if you’re not prioritizing your needs as well.
BRH Can Help
If you’re in a position where caregiving may be leading to burnout or perhaps you’re already there, Baptist Retirement Homes can help with various retirement options, such as assisted living. To learn more about our communities located in North Carolina, please call (336) 725-0202.