5 Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

9/30/2016
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Caregivermonth ENRICHED

Though caregiving for a loved one can be rewarding, it can also involve various stressors that can lead to long-term health issues.  An estimated 25-29% of caregivers provide assistance to someone with a form of a dementia or cognitive impairment. The long hours, financial pressures, changes in family and life dynamic can definitely add up, ultimately leading to caregiver burnout.  In fact, in 2015, friends and family of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementias provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care.  

Caregiver burnout is a result of physical, emotional and mental variety, as the demands of caregiving can take a serious toll on someone’s health.  Burnout will ultimately hurt both you and the loved one you're caring for.  This is why taking time to rest and recharge as a caregiver is a necessity to avoid physical and emotional issues that range from heart disease to depression.  Here are tips be to manage your burnout:

  1. Have An Emotional Outlet
    The act of expressing your feelings and frustrations are extremely cathartic and necessary. Find a trustworthy friend, co-worker or neighbor to talk to.  Talking to a therapist, social worker, or care giver support group can also be helpful since they are trained to give advice on complex physical and emotional issues.  Withdrawal from family and friends can be a sign of burnout.  Creating an emotional outlet will also build a circle of people you trust and confide in, which is crucial for your mental and emotional health.  
  2. Prioritize Your Own Health Too
    We all know the practices--eat right, exercise often, and get sufficient sleep. Healthy foods give us sufficient energy and clear minds.  Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. Sleep is an essential part of productivity.  Stay on top of your emotional health by accepting your feelings and the inevitable frustrations.  Don’t skip any medical check-ups. Meditate to boost spirits.  Remember that if your health suffers, so will the care of your loved one.  Therefore, maintain your health and strong immune system.
  3. Ask For Help
    Take advantage of respite care services when you need the break to avoid risk of pushing yourself too hard.   Help can range from a few hours of in-home care, to a short stay at an assisted-living facility.  Silverado Care in particular offers programs such as Silverado Flex Care and Overnight Care.  Respite care programs provide a temporary relief to the family and also give your loved one a place to socialize, engage in activities, or even get any medical care needed.  
  4. Set Aside Time For Yourself
    Taking time to decompress doesn’t always mean taking a week-long vacation. Even if it’s 30 minutes a day for yourself to do whatever you enjoy, it makes a key difference.  In fact, one of the signs of caregiver exhaustion include loss in hobbies or interests.  Spend time finishing reads on your book list, light candles and take a bath, boost your spirits by seeing a comedy show.  These actions help compartmentalize yourself from your caregiving tasks.
  5. Educate Yourself
    You can give better care the more you know about your loved one's condition.  Use your resources like assisted living centers and support groups to stay educated.  
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