5 Tips for Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
Posted on December 18th, 2017.
As members of our family age, it can be tempting to take on caring for them alone. We all want what is best for our families, which is why many become caregivers with no questions asked. It’s amazing to see the support of families, however, taking on too much can lead to a common problem known as caregiver burnout. Here are 5 important tips to avoid burnout in your family.
Help your loved one help himself/herself.
Most people want to maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible. Do what you can to make it possible for them to hold onto this. Consider adding in a shower seat, or a tub with easy access, grab bars in the bathroom and bedroom and placing items in easy to reach places. They even have unique utensils to help open jars and other items now which are perfect to help your loved one.
As friends, family, and neighbours for help.
When help is offered, accept it or when you need it ask. Chances are there is a long line of people just waiting to help so utilize your circle. Explain what needs to be done for the loved one by creating a simple list or having a quick chat and then take some time for yourself. As long as your loved one’s needs are being met that is the most important thing.
Take care of yourself.
Take the time to eat healthy, exercise, relax, and enjoy your life too. These things, while they seem small, are the keys to avoiding burnout. In most communities, there are respite programs that can help with short-term care as well. Depression is another common sign of burnout so keep your mental health in check and see your doctor or talk to someone if you’re feeling blue.
Remember to have a thick skin.
When people are struggling with dementia or other mental/emotional problems they can get angry and/or say hurtful things. Try to remember the person they were before they were struggling and try not to take these comments to heart. Always remind yourself this is their struggles talking, not them.
Talk to someone.
Talking to others who have experienced the role of a family caregiver can make a huge difference in your situation as well. Consider seeking out a new friendship or joining a support group with someone who truly understands your situation.
Our hats are off to all of you who are taking care of loved ones when they need your help the most. It takes a special kind of person with a huge heart, compassion, and patience to support your loved ones as they grow to need you.
“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.” -Mother Theresa