Caregiving can be very challenging for people that are trained to do it everyday. What is a caregiver? A caregiver is someone that helps a person meet their basic needs on a regular, frequent and consistent basis. But, how about when you are a family member and you find yourself taking on the role as the family caregiver. You may take on this role as an act of kindness or loyalty. Whether it is for our aging parents, a disable child or spouse, it is a very noble and rewarding experience. Begin a family caregiver can be stressful. This can be an overwhelming situation you never anticipated and one you may not have been trained to undertake.
It is very easily for the family caregiver to burnout. When a family caregiver gets burnout, it can take a toll on them emotionally and mentally and not to mention the physical exhaustion from being there 24/7. Like getting up throughout the night with little to no sleep. You find yourself with no energy to take care of yourself let alone take care of your love ones.
It is not uncommon for the family caregiver to feel anger, resentment toward family members that don’t share in the responsibilities, mourning the life they had prior to becoming a family caregiver and losing oneself. The family caregiver may feel ashamed and guilty for feeling this way. Still the family caregiver may tend to be guarded, withdrawal, depressed, and have a feeling of hopelessness because they know their loves one may not get better or their health may continue to decline. The family caregiver may not talk to anyone for the fear of being judge. These feeling can be considered normal. That is why it is very important to talk with people that understand what you are going through and have been through this role.
Ways to help prevent burnout:
- Take time for yourself and know your limits.
- Make a calendar of the days you need family and friend to pitch in to perform daily and schedule task or to sit with love ones
- Take a night off and let a family member or friend watch your love one
- Communicate to your family member how you feel and why you need a break
- Ask church member, family and friend for help
- Find online caregiver support groups or read blogs that are related
- Talk with a Social Worker or Counselor that can provide resources
- Focus on the things you can control
- Ask about Respite Care if family or friend are not able or available (E-Z Access Home Care can help with that)
- Go for short walks, movies, out to dinner or friend’s house to get away and renew